The Pittsburgh Steelers, in particular general manager Kevin Colbert, have spent some time this offseason defending their 2021 third-round pick Kendrick Green, who was absent from the starting lineup for the last handful of games at the end. of last season. .
Colbert insisted Green wasn’t benched in favor of JC Hassenauer, despite always dressing for those games, but rather just wasn’t healthy enough to start, but they were pretty comfortable with where he had to serve as an emergency option as an eighth-line player.
In other words, it implied that Green would still have started at center had he not been injured. Now they’ve come out and signed two free agents who can start at center, but they’ve continued to offer the same conversation about Green, while acknowledging that he can also play guard. So what exactly are we looking at with him for Year 2? Will he start in the center?
“I don’t think that’s the plan,” Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette said in a recent chat session, unless Mason Cole gets hurt. Cole is one of two linemen they signed in free agency, who said he was most comfortable at center. James Daniels, who most expect to start at right guard, also has experience starting at center.
That leaves only one interior offensive line position open, naturally, at left guard, where Kevin Dotson started the first half of last season before being injured and missing the rest of the year. BJ Finney started there, got injured, then Hassenauer started there, got injured, and finally John Leglue ended the year there.
Dotson will return, of course, but he’s not exactly a proven veteran. That’s where Fittipaldo sees Green fit in this summer – in a positional battle with Dotson to start at left guard. At least those two. He didn’t mention Hassenauer or Leglue, but maybe they’ll be involved as well.
Now, is this something revealing or revolutionary? No, that’s basically what we planned from the start. And for what it’s worth, that’s just educated speculation from a reporter, not something based on fact, though he’s probably at least had a chance to see the linegroups during the OTA.
Ultimately, I think the coaches will give Green a shot at a starting job this year, including at center (and Cole would also be an option at guard in the event that Green is ultimately left at center).
Do I think he will win a starting job? Not really. But I’m not one to write off a player after their first year. He has limitations, but if he can work on them, he has traits that would be great to have in the starting lineup, which Cole doesn’t have.