The Pittsburgh Steelers were forced to make a couple of roster moves yesterday due to injuries sustained in their last preseason game, among them adding depth along the interior offensive line following the lower leg fracture suffered by center Maurkice Pouncey.
While backup Cody Wallace will be asked to fill in at center in the starting lineup until Pouncey returns, hopefully some time around or shortly after midseason, it was necessary to add veteran depth behind Wallace, and for that role, the Steelers chose to bring back Doug Legursky.
Legursky was first signed by the Steelers as an undrafted free agent in 2008, making the 53-man roster the following year and remaining with the team through the 2012 season. He spent 2013 in Buffalo, and last season in San Diego, where he started games for both clubs.
The second-term Steeler had his season ended with a knee injury after starting two games midseason for the Chargers a year ago. He started a career-high 11 games in Buffalo the year before, however.
While Legursky has not exactly proven himself to be a starter in waiting, either with his most recent teams or in his 14 regular season starts with the Steelers, he has in the past gotten the team out of a bind when the injuries mounted.
Obviously, Legursky would enter the starting lineup should any of the three interior starters go down with an injury, but it is likely that no matter where that injury occurs, he will take over at center, with Wallace kicking over to guard if the injury occurs there.
That is because the seventh-year veteran is a more reliable player at center than at guard, where his size is more easily minimized due to the frequency of double teams that he is a part of. While Wallace is also a better center than guard, he is more capable of playing there.
Back when he was with the Steelers, the team actually moved Pouncey over to guard when there was an injury there in order to start Legursky at center, violating their standard operating procedure of moving as few parts as possible. That just goes to show what kind of guard he is in comparison to center.
For the money, and for the familiarity that already exists between the player and the organization, it is hard to argue with this move, given the circumstances and the alternatives. There is no replacing an All-Pro talent, but bringing in Legursky at least provides a bit of security at the center position should a backup be necessary.
And we saw that that was necessary, of course, the last time that Pouncey went down. That is, in fact, why Wallace remains on the team, after he was forced into the starting lineup for the final few games of the 2013 season after Fernando Velasco suffered an Achilles injury and landed himself on injured reserve.
Wallace has built a resume for himself, as well as trust in his coaches and teammates, which is why it made more sense for the Steelers to seek a replacement not for Pouncey’s spot, but for Wallace’s this time around as he moves up the depth chart.