Extra work paying off for Burns

A year ago Artie Burns was a rookie, learning the ropes, not knowing what to expect, and trying to show his teammates why the Steelers drafted him in the first round.

Fast forward to today and he is more comfortable thanks to a lot of the work he put in this offseason.

"I am stronger, in better condition," said Burns, who added five pounds of muscle in the offseason. "I feel like I came in not ready (last year) and that is something I wanted to work on this offseason."

Burns is also a more confident player, but knows that there is plenty of room for growth.

"The reps I got last season helped me a lot being able to be prepared for this year and know what to look for," said Burns. "Every year I want to get better. Every day I want to get better. I want to come out here every day like I had my worst day yesterday."

Burns spends extra time after OTAs working with fellow corner Stephon Tuitt, the two with the same game plan in mind.

"We just want to be the best and make ourselves better," said Burns. "We push ourselves every day. We want to make sure we are the guys who can lock it down either on side of the field."

One way Burns thinks the secondary can improve is by playing more man coverage, something he said is needed to become a Super Bowl champion.

"We want to become more man," said Burns. "That is what it takes to win a Super Bowl. Every team that has won a Super Bowl the last couple of years has been able to play man. There is always some opening in the zone defense. There is always some loop in the zone defense.

"We want to be a team that can play man, get pressure on the quarterback and outside coverage down the field."

Catching on: First-round pick T.J. Watt is proving to be a quick study, already feeling comfortable with the playbook and feeling better on the field each day.

The Steelers participate in day 5 of the 2017 Organized Team Activities at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

"We are in week two where we have the playbook down pretty well," said Watt. "There are always little mistakes here and there. We are correcting them. As long as we play faster and learn what each and every guy does and how we play off each other."

While OTAs are great for the learning process for young players like Watt, getting a real feel for the game is something that is still down the road.

"It's fine and dandy to do all of this without helmets," said Watt. "It's a whole different game once the pads are on. Right now I am just trying to get the scheme down as much as possible because a lot is going to speed up once we get to training camp. I am not getting too high, I am not getting too low."

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