Pittsburgh Steelers rookie cornerback Artie Burns and rookie safety Sean Davis know they likely will be marked men when they take the field Sunday against the New England Patriots. It’s not a stretch to think they will be very busy when facing Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who has made a living off of exploiting whatever advantage he can find.
And rookies normally are easy targets.
“Yeah, I’m aware of that,” Davis said, via ESPN. “I’m aware of that every time I step out on the field on Sundays. We have less experience, and they might try us, but I feel like we’ve been playing well, that we’ve been making plays, so you can go on and keep trying me.”
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Burns is well aware of Brady’s penchant for taking advantage of rookie mistakes and is doing what he can to prepare for it.
“That’s what he does,” Burns said. “He’s a savvy vet. That’s what savvy vets do; they go after rookies. I’m prepared for it. It’s a challenge. I’ve just got to be ready.”
The entire Steelers team will need to be ready against Brady and the Patriots, who are 16-3 at home in the playoffs since 2001. If head coach Mike Tomlin is concerned about how his rookies will fare against a future Hall of Famer, he isn’t showing it.
“I’m very confident,” Tomlin said of Burns and Davis. “And I get the confidence based on what I’ve seen. I’ve been in two playoff stadiums with them already, and they’ve handled themselves rather well. That’s the only experience I have to pull from. So there’s a level of comfort there. But make no mistake about it, those guys are growing with each outing, and that’s just a very natural thing.”