Rookie safety Morgan Burnett has been the focus of a lot of fans’ excitement. Expectations are high for the third round pick. This morning, I wrote the following:
Morgan Burnett is the real deal if, and its a big ‘if’, he can tackle in a game. Its one thing to hit and tackle a guy in the controlled environment of a drill. Its quite another to do it live in a game. Everything else with Burnett is solid if not very good. His ball skills are excellent. His range is fantastic. Now I just need to see him in a game with live tackling. If he passes that test, ladies and gentlemen, he is the real deal.
While all of this is true, it does not change the fact that Burnett is still a rookie. He just completed his fourth training camp practice. He has a long way to go before he can be trusted to be where he needs to be on every snap. There was a great example of this in a redzone drill this afternoon.
I think this play serves to tell two stories. One, obviously, is the busted coverage by a rookie who is way too late shifting over to cover for a double corner blitz.
The second and more important story is the level of play that will be needed at the safety position opposite Collins if Dom Capers is going to be able to bring more exotic pressure packages. It’s all well and good for me to say that “Capers needs to blitz more” (which is, of course, an oversimplification) but one of the components that needs to be there is safety play that can be counted on,
It’s one play early in camp. Burnett will no doubt learn from it. But as much as it might feel good for fans to rip on Bigby and talk about his inevitable benching, he has still played a lot of snaps in this defense. Burnett is a talent but once Bigby is back this could be a good battle.