The Pittsburgh Steelers made a splash in the preseason when they acquired cornerback Brandon Boykin from the Philadelphia Eagles for a conditional draft pick. Boykin played regularly in the preseason and, despite not grasping the full defensive playbook, showed promise among the other defensive backs on the roster.
His play, combined with the fact the team traded to acquire him, had fans wondering where he was on Thursday night against the New England Patriots. Boykin saw nine special teams snaps, but zero on the defensive side of the football. While fans kept asking, "Where was Boykin?", reporters asked Boykin himself the same question on Monday following the team's practice, and the answer didn't exactly address the question at hand.
"I don't know why, I don't know what the reason was," Boykin told Neal Coolong of DKonPittsburghSports.com. "I'm not frustrated. It will play out, this was just Week 1. I definitely intend on playing at some point."
The Steelers had a plan for the Patriots, and that plan involved adding an extra safety in a specific package, rather than inserting an additional cornerback. Robert Golden, the third safety to see the field, knew the package was going to be used against the Patriots on Thursday night.
"It was a package we put in last week," Golden said. "I knew we had a package ready that I was going to be a part of. I knew coach was going to call it at some point."
As Boykin stated, he isn't frustrated with the situation, but will have a conversation with the coaching staff if the trend continues. "It's a conversation I'll have if it continues down this route," Boykin said.
The conditional draft pick which the Steelers sent to the Eagles was based on the percentage of snaps Boykin plays throughout the 2015 season. Some might suggest that the Steelers holding Boykin out might be a ploy for them to keep their higher draft pick, but that's pure speculation at this point.
Mike Tomlin will address the media on Tuesday, and he'll surely field plenty of questions surrounding Boykin's playing time, as well as others.