The criticism of Jon Bostic’s coverage skill set churned out from Pittsburgh Steelers fans before the ink was even dry on his two-year contract. A chunk of the criticism was founded, another chunk of it was due to him being poorly schemed into positions he was bound to struggle with. The criticism hit a crescendo when three-time Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce dismantled the Steelers with seven receptions for 109 yards and two touchdowns during the Kansas City Chiefs Week 2 win. Undoubtedly other SB Nation boards have been filled with disgruntled fans this year with Kelce amassing 57 receptions for 787 yards and six touchdowns so far on the season. In fans’ minds they may remember what Kelce did weeks ago, but what has Bostic done for the Steelers lately?
In the Carolina Panthers Week 10 game, Pro Football Reference credited Bostic with eight of his 10 tackles during passing plays. What makes the number of tackles even more impressive is the yardage and the number of tackles against slippery running back Christian McCaffrey and speedy (4.42-yard dash at the Combine.) wideout DJ Moore. McCaffrey had a solid game receiving against the Steelers totaling five receptions for 61 yards and two touchdowns. Out of the five receptions, Bostic was involved in three, helping limit McCaffrey to 16 yards. Bostic was in on three tackles of Moore limiting the 2018 first round selection to 19 yards on the grabs.
Bustic’s cover skills will be needed during the Jacksonville Jaguars game as T.J. Yeldon leads the team in reception with 42 to go along with four touchdowns. Leonard Fournette is again healthy and has nine receptions over three games and one touchdown.
Steelers fans need to understand the limitations that Bostic has. Fans also cannot expect Bostic to blanket elite tight ends in the league when premiere cover linebackers Bobby Wagner and Telvin Smith struggle against the same tight ends. Hopefully Sunday the Steelers coaching staff will ask Bostic to cover areas on the field he is best suited for as they did in the Carolina game. Steelers fans do not want to see Yeldon rumbling for another 40 yard gain after a quick dump off again while Bostic is 20 yards down the field covering seldom targeted tight end James O’Shaughnessy.
He might have his limitations in coverage, but give credit to the Steelers for noticing his shortcomings and being able to scheme and adjust around him.