With the Pittsburgh Steelers’ training camp for the 2015 season now in swing, it’s time to get down to the business of football. The time for “football in shorts” or “football-like” events is over as teams all around the league embark on their own personal journey for the upcoming season.
Although for just about every team the time leading up to the regular season and reflect a period of optimism, it’s also a period of great uncertainty, which means that there are a lot of questions that need to be answered before we know who or what a team truly is. It’s a process that can last well into the regular season.
I imagine that one question many who follow this site are having about training camp has to do with the center play during camp. Undrafted rookie lineman Reese Dismukes has been getting all of the second-team center work, and some work with the third-team line as well, and as our training camp reports have detailed, he has struggled.
From a number of bad snaps that resulted in mishandled balls, if not outright fumbles, to at times seemingly being dominated by his competition, it’s beginning to seem odd that Mike Munchak and the coaching staff has left him in that position for as long as they have, even if it has only been a week’s worth of practice thus far.
It seems to me that fellow undrafted rookie B.J. Finney has earned the opportunity to get some of Dismukes’ reps at the center position, but instead he has been limited to work in the middle with the third-team offensive line.
So the question is, then, how long of a leash is being granted to Dismukes before we see some players getting flip-flopped?
Perhaps more importantly, who is going to play third-team center today? Starting center Maurkice Pouncey is expected to practice today, which means that Cody Wallace will move back to where he belongs as the second-team center.
That leaves just one line left open for the center position. Will Dismukes continue to dominate those reps? Will he be moved to guard? Or perhaps will the coaches rotate who gets to play center with the third line?
In actuality, the Steelers are likely to give Pouncey enough time off that there will still be some work available along both the second- and third-team lines, but with Dismukes struggling as he has, one can’t help but wonder that a change is in order in the relatively near future.
Particularly concerning was the number of bad snaps that he delivered, which negates some valuable practice reps, not just for himself, but his teammates, all of whom are trying to make the team.
While he has cleaned up his snaps for the most part, he has still struggled, seemingly more than the rest of his competition, so perhaps it’s time for him to move down on the pecking order. Whether or not we actually see that happen remains in question.