Artie Burns Bowing Out Against The Run

Had a reader/tweeter ask a good question today. How many tackles does Artie Burns have against the run?

The answer? Zero.

That’s according to the always-handy Pro Football Reference’s Game Play finder. Of the 162 tackles the Pittsburgh Steelers have against the run this year, Burns hasn’t been involved in any of them. He’s the only cornerback who doesn’t have one.

According to the list, Mike Hilton has five, William Gay has three, and Joe Haden has a pair. Sure, chances are going to be more limited for an outside cornerback, Hilton’s five tackles are a reminder of how important run defense is to the slot corner, but we know Burns has had – and whiffed – on his chances.

The best example is the most painful. One of the worst plays I’ve ever seen, Burns inexplicably slipping and falling against the Chicago Bears, letting Jordan Howard scoot past as the Steelers would go on to lose a few plays later.


For comparison, last year, Burns had 17 run tackles. That led all Steelers’ corners. Four of those could be considered successful stops, tackle for a short gain on 1st/2nd and long.

Even as the Steelers’ defense has evolved, run defense is an 11 man job. Burns has improved in coverage by a noticeable margin but his run defense, and some of its basic rules, is a concept he still struggles in. It’s one of the biggest things I’m looking for him to improve on over the rest of the season.

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • Alex Kozora

    Let me know if you can see the tweet/video in the article. Having some trouble with it.

  • 太阳三联

    Worked for me. Rather it didnt, that was fxcking ugly and dumb AF of him.

  • Andrew

    It worked for me

  • falconsaftey43

    ouch. some of that may be more man coverage. Playing bump and run, getting his back turned even when it’s a run? Just a thought. But yeah, he has never been assignment sound as a run defender.

  • Ni mo

    Or is he just nit the type that wants to tackle on runs

  • Alex Kozora


  • Alex Kozora

    If none of the other corners had tackles, then I’d agree. Or if plays like the above didn’t exist, then I’d agree.

  • DirtDawg1964

    He doesn’t just slip and fall. He takes an awful angle to the outside of a wide open hole. Like he was trying to avoid the tackle. Ugh. As in ugly.

  • Mark DeSevo

    I think this play has a lot to do with Artie giving up the edge in previous games. It seems like he was hesitant to attack the runner because he didnt want to give up the outside. I’m probably wrong but that’s what it looks like to me.

  • falconsaftey43

    oh yeah, no question he’s blown assignments and has wtf moments against the run. Just looking for why maybe a change from last year even. Also Him and Haden combining for only 2 might speak to man coverage. Hilton, as you noted, is different being as he’s in the slot. Same with Gay.

  • srdan

    That has to be one of the funniest plays i’ve seen in a while. It reminds me of a fake soccer tackle. How the players fall hard with no actual contact. I wish i was a fly on the wall during his roasting in the film room.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Serious lack of effort

  • Intense Camel

    Painful to watch

  • JT

    Artie Burns is the part of the Steelers defense that most closely resembles the offense….poster child for not living up to his potential. But is it worse to be the Martavis Bryant of the defense, like Sean Davis, and be a total dud so far?

  • Ralph Wagner

    Hey, a guy can get injured tackling those big guys. Time to have a man to man with Mr. Burns. Just say’n

    Go Steelers

  • Alex Kozora

    Agreed. Slot is always going to be more active against the run. But Burns should have something, at the least, around the two that Haden has. Enough changes have been there for him.

  • Stairway7

    Not on that play. That was strictly a “business decision.”

  • Stairway7

    I think I’d play that video over and over in the weight room.

  • pittfan

    one has to wonder if it was shown at all. based on his 0 tackles against the jags, one would think not.

  • pittfan

    seriously embarrassing. hey artie, you aint deon! when you run back punts 80 yards for TDs and shut down everything in the neighborhood, you can make “business decisions”. till then, stick your head in there and play ball.

  • srdan

    paint the coaches as you wants. But if I was Haden I would have at least logged onto yt and gave him the business

  • pittfan


  • kev4heels

    Honestly, I don’t think he is a standout in coverage either.
    He’s ok. But certainly not a shutdown corner.
    We don’t leave him on an island very often.

    Alex – any idea how much we have actually played man2man this year?
    Seems like the teams we have faced up to this point would call for 7/8 in the box and
    man2man with a S over the type. I’m guessing Butler doesn’t trust our CBs to play on an island.

  • Douglas Andrews

    IKR let it run 24/7 with a caption “This is what not to do when you suit up for a game”

  • Rocksolid20

    Sadly he is the best we have .

  • ryan72384

    Has Sean Davis played this year?

  • John Pennington

    Burns is the worst tackler at cb position the Steelers ever had and that’s because he is afraid to tackle no heart what so ever.The Steelers need to draft a corner who can cover and tackle and sit Burns on the bench until he learns to tackle or find some heart to tackle.Keep showing him the bears tape on the TD run when he was on the ground and have him explain that when you interview next time like to hear how he tries to explain that and all the other missed tackles he had since becoming a Steeler.

  • John Pennington

    Burns is the worst cb tackler the steelers ever had at the position and thats because he scared to tackle.He was a poor tackler in college andin his 2nd year no improvement at all.The steelers need to draft players who can cover and tackle not one or the other.Draft his replacement next year and sit him on the bench until he learns to tackle or find some heart to tackle he hurts the team and he is not doing his job by not putting his hand in the pile and help against the run.5 games in no run tackles and he still starts.Keep showing him the run against the bears have him.

  • dany

    Wow 17 last year in only 10 starts, something must have happened between then and this year. Injury? Risk of injury?

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    Seems like an emerging case of Hollimanitis aka scurred of contact.

  • Alex Kozora

    I don’t have the exact number. Not something we track. Check PFF.

  • Dan

    Looked like he was hiding.

  • C2K

    I bet Hilton would be a good FS

  • BB

    Why has this article forget about Mike Mitchell? He should be making these tackles not Burns

  • BB

    Mike Mitchell should be making these tackles not Burns

  • BB

    No because Burns is playing shut down corner and Mike Mitchell should be making these tackles not Burns

  • pittsburghjoe

    Good info, Alex. Very interesting.

  • Daniel Santo

    If you look at it it looks like he may have overpursued thinking JH was going outside. Once he realized he wasnt he slipped on his own feet. He should have filled the open field and forced him outside to hopefully Chick, if he could shed that block. If not he at least goes out of bounds.

  • capehouse

    How many missed tackles is Burns credited with?

  • Alex Kozora

    Yeah it’s an issue of crack/replace. Burns doesn’t fill the gap since the S got cracked by the WR.

  • colingrant

    That effort is so bad, I still haven’t dismissed the possibility that he faked the entire sequence to avoid the tackle. Would have payed a small attendance fee to witness the comments in the film room.

  • Mike367

    Wow. Hadn’t noticed that. Interesting. His pass defense has been very good though, and that’s why we drafted him.

  • Alex Kozora

    Believe it or not, according to our Josh Carney, zero.

    This is before Sunday’s game. Know Josh said Steelers missed nine of them vs Jacksonville. So we’ll see.

  • Roberto Vaquero Bazán

    Come on man, you insist in The same thing and probably you are right, but he was there and he didn’t give it a try!

  • woodsworld58

    Please…stop passing the buck. Its the Steelers pinching in Cam Hayward inside, and NOBODY in the front seven setting the edge. That’s the real problem, and other teams notice this, and run left. The gaps that have been left in the front seven are so big, I could set my TV remote control down, and run through them ;-). The Steelers should have played 2 gap and focused on stopping the run against the Jaguars…even a caveman could figure this out. Make Bortles beat you with his arm, but no….the coaching staff just couldn’t figure it out. We need to get a DC from OUTSIDE the organization. Also…..I’m getting tired of seeing Bud Dupree run past the pocket, like the play is that far past the line of scrimmage. Oh yeah…once in a while he makes a play, but he’s starting to look like an athlete, who has putrid football instincts. OK….I’m off my soapbox!

  • Roberto Vaquero Bazán

    Pretty much …Yes!

  • GravityWon

    Artie “Deion Sanders” Burns. Now if he would just get some pick sixes like Deion.

  • MC

    that miss looks intentional. Chick was setting the edge ready to shed if he went outside, burns should know this and fill the gaping wide gap. Its inexcusable because even if he doesn’t want to form tackle he could at least dive at his knees to slow him up even just a lil.

  • Alex Kozora

    Because this article had nothing to with Mike Mitchell.

  • BB

    I did see that, but he is a cover cornerback and Mitchell needs to make those tackles, but Tomlin loves Mitchell

  • Todd Borax

    It does look intentional. Like Artie had money on the Bears.

  • walter

    Did someone hit him in the head before he fell down?

  • Dewayne Braxton

    Mitchell makes he share of mistakes but he is a willing tackler. Mitchel has also made some nice solo tackles on big backs and tight ends. His heart is unquestionable.

  • Dewayne Braxton

    The Steelers have always required their corners to play the tough against the run. I don’t think that has changed.

  • Alex Kozora

    No one says he’s the sole reason for the run defense struggles. But he can be part of it. And it’s ok to point that out.

  • Matthew Marczi

    PFF credits him with one missed tackle (in the passing game) for what it’s worth.


    i think he is too skinny to tackle bruiser backs
    time to juice him up~~

  • Zarbor

    So glad you wrote this article. I’ve been noticing Artie bowing out for weeks now. Homeboy doesn’t want to tackle at all. Its pathetic. Way to call him out

  • T R

    I was hoping video didn’t work. I saw it doing game and thought he was tripped. Ugh. Just terrible

  • Ed Smith

    That’s how I saw it too. HOW could he not see that huge hole and not know to fill it??? I played CB in HS/college and that’s as obvious a decision as there gets on a run play…

  • falconsaftey43

    I actually think he was confused about which gap to protect. He doesn’t seem contact shy as he’s dished and taken some big hits in the past. Think he’s just still struggling with knowing his run game assignments. crack/replace is his kryptonite.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    i said it last year. burns is a project. period. him and sean davis are just not good yet.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    that’s because that’s what he was. an athlete not a football player. hell he didnt have a college coach for his position.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    chick was holding the edge fine. burns blew that play. period.

  • Michael James

    “Oh yeah…once in a while he makes a play, but he’s starting to look like an athlete, who has putrid football instincts.”
    Well, unfortunately that’s Dupree for you and I doubt it will change. Some guys are just football players and have great instincts and a natural feel for the game – Dupree isn’t.

  • jconeoone C

    This is and was ugly too watch. There any indication that he has a injured shoulder or anything like that. That might make him second think tackling a runner? I pretty sure he hasn’t been on any pregame lists

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Thank you, Alex. It feels like fans and writers have been ignoring some of Burns’ warts. I appreciate you sharing something I feel like I’ve seen since day one – Burns doesn’t like to tackle. Video supports.

    You can see him running just next to the pile often, allowing others to make the tackle. His run contains are where I hope he can improve. So far, it’s been a legitimate problem that doesn’t seem to get much press.

    The Depot had him with zero missed tackles going into the game against the Jags, but I feel like I’ve been watching him miss every game. Also watch him when a receiver is blocking him and the run comes to his side. He’s been getting shoved around and out of the play pretty often.

  • #beatthepats

    Well said!!! this 2-5 scheme is gettin murdered against the run and they still play it . The game is won and lost in the trenches

  • BB

    Apparently, you don’t watch the games..the corners are playing man coverage this year and Burns shouldn’t be making these tackles now.
    What do you have a hard on for Mike Mitchell? He is the most overrated player and where was he in training camp? You must be a Tomlin lover too then. Polamalu was a heart and soul player, NOT Mitchell the penalty king

  • Jason Dock Dudley

    Bad play but he was doing his job. He has outside contain which is where he was going and what he was doing. Problem is chicks edge is ever expanding and not forcing the runner back inside where safety help or ilb help is supposed to be coming, which never did. Chick blocks his view and by the time Burns sees the cut and that no help is coming it is too late. So yes it was ugly but he was doing his assignment correctly. Do your job is the best sound football fundamentals to have. If he starts attempting to fill the gap where the safety and backer is supposed to be, teams will kill the defense running outside.

  • HiVul

    I don’t think the difference between 2 tackles and 0 tackles is statistically significant. This article is basically just the gif.

  • Alex Kozora

    Nope. Burns is crack/replace. Has to become the alley defender. Chick is fine. Burns is wrong.

  • will

    Great insight ALEX. As you point out…….this is glaring!! He needs to buckle up and take the hits and make the tackles.

  • will


  • woodsworld58

    I absolutely agree on Dupree. I would have taken Sean Ray instead of Dupree. No wonder he fell in the draft, and some things you either have or don’t have. The Steelers have fallen for the speed trap lately, and drafted some athletes who aren’t football players. They also have to get back to fundamentals… MUST be able to stop the run first.

  • Dewayne Braxton

    No I am not a Tomlin lover. And I do watch the games. While watching I observer two facts. One is the Steelers are not primarily playing man coverage as you suggest. They play multiple schemes that includes some man coverages. Also, I’ve noticed that playing run and pass defense is an 11 man job. For the record all NFL teams expect corners earning millions to tackle ball carriers. Finally, Tomlin noted that Jacksonville’s corners played man coverage. Did you notice them aggressively making tackles. For another reference see Denver’s man coverage corners playing the run. Or recall zone corners like Ike Taylor, Deshea Townsend made those tackles. More recently Will Gay is an example. He has never been neither a man corner nor be horrible tackle like Burns. Regarding Mitchell I acknowledge he is nothing special. But the statement “he should be making these tackles” sounds shallow because the whole defense misses to many tackles and needs to improve. The Steelers”s tackling issues are neither new nor isolative to one position nor player.

  • BB

    As I stated before, you clearly don’t watch the games
    Steelers play man coverage with the corners now
    Case closed

  • Dewayne Braxton

    Not trying to debate. But according to Keith Butler the Steelers mix their coverages. Man is one option they use. And after watching Sunday’s game Artie Burns looks like he is still learning his zone responsibilities.