Mike Adams, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2012 former second-round draft pick who was as recently as the start of last season viewed as the team’s potential left tackle of the season, has been solidly entrenched in the swing tackle job since his benching after the fourth game of last year.
Since then, he has started five games, including four at right tackle this year in place of Marcus Gilbert, who has missed the last three games, but is expected to return and resume his starting spot this afternoon against the Kansas City Chiefs.
While this was not the worst of his most recent performances in the starting lineup for the Steelers, there was none the less little of encouragement to take from it. Despite giving up a sack, perhaps his pass protection was actually a bit better than his work in the running game last week against the Atlanta Falcons.
That sack came on first and 10 in the first quarter as the Steelers were driving down the field. They just reached the Falcons’ 23-yard line when the sack set them back seven yards to the 30, giving them a second and 17 to contend with.
The sack came as a result of Adams’ lack of recognition of the stunt, which allowed the defensive tackle to get around the edge, as he was still engaged with the defensive end. Adams has struggled working in sync with David DeCastro in these instances.
It’s only fair to point out at least one highlight, however, and he did help running back Le’Veon Bell walk into the end zone at the end of the first half from one yard out. Adams worked the defensive linemen to the left and kept him engaged and unable to make a tackling effort at Bell as he hit the hole around right tackle for the score.
In order to make up for that positive effort, Adams was responsible for giving up the Steelers’ worst running play of the day. It went for a loss of six yards and made the team’s rushing total relative to total carries look even more dismal than it needed to be.
The Steelers lined up with three tight ends on the field, but not on a counter power run. Adams was simply beaten off the snap at the line of scrimmage with a speed move inside as the defensive end wrapped Bell up deep in his own backfield.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Adams was guilty of minimizing another running play for Bell, which was held for just one yard. As has often been the case, when he gets moving, he often fails to move his bottom half along with his top half. Adams got stretched out and then was beaten inside to give up the tackle.