The entrance of Brandon Boykin in the Pittsburgh Steelers locker room sent a loud and clear message to the NFL teams with regard to the upcoming season - the Steelers will no longer fall victims to the same traps that led to their less than satisfactory performance in the previous NFL season. With the addition of Boykin, it becomes increasingly apparent that the Steelers are attempting to upgrade the defensive backfield of the team and the former Philadelphia Eagles cornerback might just be the player needed to bolster that side.
Standing at 5-foot-10, Boykin is considered a bit undersized for the position but the cornerback appears to be determined to show that his spot in the Steelers roster is highly deserved - an attitude that is truly needed by the Pittsburgh team at the moment especially with Senquez Golzon still off the field due to an injury, leaving the NFL team to find ways to increase the depth at the cornerback. Apart from Golzon, the Steelers also found Antwon Blake a tad problematic as the said NFL star only managed to rake in one NFL start in a span of three seasons. Not all is lost, however, as William Gay harbors the desire to be in the starting position this NFL season for the Steelers.
"This year, I guarantee will be even better," Boykin said in an earlier interview with Philly.com, referring to the added practice routines and more intense workouts he now engages in to further improve his stance and skills. He added, "I feel way better than I did last year. I was battling a hamstring from like the second game all the way throughout the season. This offseason, did yoga, did a lot of stuff just to get my body right and I feel like I did in 2013."
While this promise sounds great in paper, the Steelers have yet to see whether or not Boykin can actually deliver. With an upcoming match for the Hall of Fame Game against the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday (August 9), the Steelers can finally have the opportunity to determine if their decision to take in Boykin during the trade is worth it. At the moment, Boykin is hard at work in the Steelers training camp.
Meanwhile, another Steelers star is expected to prove his worth in the upcoming Sunday match. Landry Jones, a fourth-round NFL pick in 2013, will be playing in front of a number of reps starting August 9. "It's either going to be really good for us here or really good for him maybe somewhere else," said Randy Fichtner, the quarterbacks coach of the Steelers, according to ESPN. He added, "It's kind of to that point, probably. He's going to be on stage to audition for us and everybody else."
The pre-season games will help Jones show that he is indeed a good fit with the Steelers - a fact that seems to be constantly questioned due to his inferior performances in the past two years. It appears, however, that Jones is starting to get his rhythm and he remains confident going the game on Sunday. Describing the past practices with the Steelers as "pretty good days," Jones pointed out that he himself could feel and see the improvements in his skills. According to Post Gazette, the Steelers' quarterback improvement is not only attributed to Jones' dedication to improve but also to the change in the set of NFL players he is working with at the moment.
With Ben Roethlisberger currently out of the picture, Jones has been given the chance to work with the first team of the Steelers. Hence, the quarterback has been dealing with the vets, including Heath Miller, Markus Wheaton, Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant, instead of the third-stringers he used to play with.