Mike Tomlin’s announcement of Mike Adams’ back injury came as a surprise. You can piece together the tea leaves, the team signing offensive tackle Kelvin Palmer yesterday, but no one expected Adams’ injury to be as severe as it is. Tomlin indicated the Steelers’ tackle underwent surgery on July 20th and estimated his recovery time at four weeks.
A month scenario, and that’s no guarantee, would get Adams back just in time for training camp to break and probably only play in the team’s final two preseason games.
Needless to say, it creates a huge opportunity for one of the most polarizing – yet wholly unknown – players in camp, Alejandro Villanueva. He’s been seen as the only reasonable competition for Adams’ spot and now will have several weeks to showcase what he can do. By no means does this guarantee him a roster spot, maybe he flops and the team keeps Adams, or goes out and signs a veteran offensive tackle, but it increases his chances.
Also helped out by the injury is right tackle Mitchell Van Dyk. He told me the team did play him at every spot except center, but he’s a natural right tackle, playing there at Portland State. Given the layout of the roster, it stands to reason he will replace Adams as the second-team right tackle.