Steelers to stick with 3-man rotation at CB
Listening to Mike Tomlin, it doesn’t sound as if Artie Burns has earned his starting job at right cornerback. But the gig hasn’t been given to anyone else, either.
During his news conference Tuesday, Tomlin said that “the rotation will continue” between Burns, veteran Coty Sensabaugh and second-year Cameron Sutton at the cornerback spot across from Joe Haden.
“We’ve been playing them all, but we’ve given up some balls down the grass,” Tomlin said. “…We’ll continue to play all three of those guys. All three of those guys work; they are putting themselves in position to make plays – but they are not making enough of them. Until we get that, the rotation will continue.”
Burns’ streak of 27 consecutive starts dating back to his 2016 rookie season ended Monday night when the Steelers went with Sensabaugh to start against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that led the NFL in passing through two weeks.
Sensabaugh, who was a healthy scratch in Week 1, played about two-thirds of the Steelers’ 74 defensive snaps in the 30-27 win; Burns played the other 34 percent of the snaps. Sutton played 20 snaps, but most of those were in the slot after Mike Hilton was injured.
Tampa Bay’s Ryan Fitzpatrick had 411 passing yards and three touchdown passes.
Tomlin wouldn’t say if the “rotation” going forward would be a pattern (a series at a time) or where the “hot hand” would play.
“I’m not going to frame it; we will play it by ear,” Tomlin said. “I am not going to box myself in.”
According to Pro Football Focus’ analysis, neither Sensabaugh nor Burns fared well against the Bucs. On seven targets according to PFF, Burns allowed five receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown. Sensabaugh allowed six receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown on eight targets.
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.