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Mike Tomlin addresses the development, or lack thereof, of Artie Burns

Poor play at the cornerback position will draw the attention of opposing offenses.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers-Minicamp Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

At his weekly press conference, Mike Tomlin went in-depth when asked about Artie Burns’ role this coming week and what he needs to do to get better.

“We’ll determine that with the quality of his work and the work of others in practice.”

Coach Tomlin continued to expand on what Burns need to do moving forward. “He’s got to keep working. He’s got to smile in the face of adversity. Young guys in the National Football League go through periods of lulls in play. Particularly in the secondary positions; particularly at the cornerback position. You see it time and time again.”

Coach Tomlin did not shy away from the issue of Burns’ needed improvement and how it factors in as he develops as a player in the NFL.

“Often times their careers are defined by how they respond to it. How they smile in the face of adversity. How they remain unwavered. How they continue to work through the misery.”

Although Burns’ play has been trending in the wrong direction, Tomlin gave reassurance Artie will still be given the chance for improvement.

“He’ll be given that opportunity. He’s been given that opportunity. I like the way he’s worked. The other guys have been given the same opportunity. We’ll just keep punching the clock. I know that when you step into stadiums and step across that white line, you have an opportunity to show that growth.”

Even though Coach Tomlin is continuing to work through Burns’ developmental process as a cornerback, he still understands the consequences of poor play.

“When you have negative plays on tape at the cornerback position, people are going to throw at you. That’s how it goes.”

The next 10 weeks are crucial for Artie Burns, both in his future with the Steelers and his future in the NFL. The Steelers have to make a decision this offseason as to whether or not they are going to pick up his fifth year option. How Burns responds to this adversity will most likely be his “make or break” moment as an NFL cornerback.