Artie Burns. A tested young man who has dealt with just about every type of adversity you would think is possible.
His father hasn’t been around him since the age of 11 since being imprisoned due to cocaine trafficking. Although he gets support from his father, he has never had the time to visit him, and moreover, his dad still has nine more years left in the South Carolina prison where he cheers his son on from.
When he was a junior at Miami, his mother passed away from a heart attack unexpectedly and he immediately had to take in his brothers, while also having a four-month-old son to take care of.
Artie Burns is a man of character. He may have had some questionable moments on the field, such as his scuffle with Jarvis Landry, but you can never question the fortitude and character of the man. He has taken care of his younger brothers and his now 3-year-old son.
Burns’ work ethic should not be questioned either. When he was at Miami, he was repeatedly described as the last one off the field, and that they would literally have to pull him off the field. Burns has never had a work ethic issue.
With such a clearly high character and talented kid, who was a former all-state hurdler, it was clear that Burns had so much potential to give to the Steelers organization.
Now, Burns has been through it all, and it his first two years in the steel city were marked with inconsistency. At times, he would make a pro bowl level play, and at other times, he would look like a backup CB.
However, there was a clear swagger to his game. He got into opponent’s heads and talked a game that he backed up with a certain aggressiveness. You saw that every single time he got an opportunity to be in press. His hands were violent and he would blanket receivers. He trusted his skill set and went with it, no matter if he messed up.
So, that is why I question how we got here. Artie Burns just isn’t...Artie Burns anymore. I have seen the devolution of CBs before, but I am not sure I have seen one similar to Burns’ decline.
Yes, there was Ike Taylor, but he was never the overly aggressive press corner Burns is. You can say the same for Cortez Allen, who stopped trusting his eyes, but never did have this swagger about him.
Artie Burns is now playing a game of mental warfare and is losing out, clearly. This guy has no confidence. He has no press-man confidence, he never processes his eyes in zone, and man, he just has no edge to his game anymore. A perfect example of this is that Defensive Pass Interference call against the Panthers.
Ugh, Artie Burns, what's going on here... #Steelers pic.twitter.com/MBIgn3uf1H— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) November 10, 2018
I...can’t say what he was thinking here. So, here is what would happen if confident Artie, or a good press-man corner were here. I can say with confidence this was not off-man, otherwise Artie would have never made a hard move to try and come down at all.
So, what should have happened here was Artie should have come down to get the jam inside the WR and pushed him off the sideline. That would have meant Artie would keep outside and most importantly, position of the ball.
Luckily for Artie, his smooth hips and speed allow him to get right back into position. He actually does a good job to switch from a press set to an off-man set with how he turns his eyes and hips inside to towards Cam Newton.
Once Moore gets to the top of his stem, he naturally gets extremely vertical that any good WR should do. Burns is fine mirroring him, despite maybe a slight hold before the goal line.
Burns is in great position, and actually is tracking this ball just fine, and if he plays this right, it is an interception for him. Whew, now wouldn’t that be swell?
Unfortunately, Artie’s confidence is so shot he goes for a panic move, thinking he is somehow beaten deep and drops Moore, which causes the DPI easily.
What am I trying to say? This play just reinforces the statement how his confidence is gone. He has great positioning here and recovers from deficient technique at the start and actually has good technique to recover. But, in the end, he panics and doesn’t trust his technique.
This is what we have gotten from Artie Burns all season, and man it is just so sad to watch. Maybe when it was first starting out, you felt anger because you knew this was another one of Artie’s lapses. Now, all I feel is pity for the only 23-year-old kid.
Yes, Artie has time to turn it around. I really hope it does. I think everyone in Steelers Nation is rooting for him to become what we know he can be, and get rid of this mess. His fifth year option is going to be declined, but maybe we can see the progression to something bigger.
Burns has that technique with him somewhere in his head. When you doubt yourself it does indeed go away. However, if he gets the confidence back, he can stop panicking every single target thrown at him.
That confidence is not easy to get back, especially when you are playing a game of mental warfare and doubt everything you knew previously.
Artie Burns, no matter how high character we know him to be, or how he was previously, has lost the edge that made him Artie Burns. There is no other way to say it, but he is his own worst enemy.