If you thought the NFL Network had already run out of players with any connection to the Pittsburgh Steelers they could bring on the show to criticize their former team, the appearance of Brandon Boykin on NFL Total Access on Wednesday ended that dream.
But while Boykin’s last year in the league was in 2017 when he spent the season on injured reserve with the Baltimore Ravens and his last game was with the Steelers in 2015, it would appear that the former cornerback has not been paying much attention to the NFL since he left.
Asked his for thoughts about how well the Pittsburgh offense will fare having lost Antonio Brown this offseason, Boykin expressed doubts about how effective JuJu Smith-Schuster could be as the No.1 receiver before going on to question the talents the Steelers have at quarterback behind Ben Roethlisberger.
“Absolutely, for a couple of reasons. Number one, you don’t lose a guy like Antonio Brown and not replace the productivity that he gave you and get better the next season. You talk about a guy that had 1,300 yards, 15 touchdowns. And I know a lot of people like JuJu Smith -Schuster, I like JuJu Smith-Schuster as well, I think he’s a great receiver. But let’s be honest, without Antonio Brown and the attention that he commanded all year, I don’t think JuJu Smith-Schuster’s numbers would have been the same. So now that he’s No. 1, we’ll see what he does. The second thing that I feel like is that they don’t have a backup quarterback. Nobody has experience other than Ben Roethlisberger. If he gets hurt, what’s the situation going to be?”
And if Boykin’s final words were not insane enough, resident Pittsburgh hater David Carr was on hand to make the former cornerback’s remarks seem even more inflammatory than they actually were.
“Brandon hit it right on the head. From a defensive guy to say that I don’t know who you’re afraid of other than JuJu. I mean, that just tells you how they’re going to play him. They’re going to put JuJu on the best corner and then the other guys just got to find a way to win and it’s going to be difficult. We saw JuJu one game without Antonio last year and it wasn’t the greatest, so we’ll see what they can do.”
Despite going back over the tape a few times, I still cannot find the part where Boykin says “I don’t know who you’re afraid of other than JuJu.”
Taking shots at Josh Dobbs and Mason Rudolph is also rather odd given that it was not an issue for the media last year, nor does it seem to be an issue for the countless other teams around the league with an inexperienced backup quarterback. If any analyst believes that 95 percent of teams in the league would not suffer significantly on offense without their starting quarterback, they are insane.
The only logic for Boykin’s redundant argument is that he was asked to provide two reasons by the show’s producer and froze up live on air; the second answer was the best he could come up with on the spot. If this is a sign of things to come, a career in media might not be in Boykin’s future. That being said, Carr somehow miraculously manages to keep his job, so clearly anything is possible.