Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin updated the health of his team during his weekly Tuesday press conference and while rattling off the long list of injured players he noted that starting left guard Ramon Foster (chest) is currently considered highly questionable to play in the Week 4 Sunday night home game against the Kansas City Chiefs. With Foster now unlikely to play Sunday night, former undrafted free agent interior lineman B.J. Finney is now on target to make his first career start at left guard against the Chiefs.
Tomlin was asked Tuesday how he thought Finney played in relief of the injured Foster during Sunday’s road blowout loss to the Philadelphia Eagles and the Steelers head coach was short and direct in his response.
“I thought he was solid,” Tomlin said of Finney, who ended up playing 38 total snaps in relief of Foster against the Eagles.
While the play of the Steelers entire offensive line as a group wasn’t good at all in Sunday’s loss to the Eagles, Finney did appear to be best of the bunch. While several have mixed opinions as to how Pro Football Focus grades players on a weekly basis, Finney received the highest grade (70.8) from them when it came to the Steelers offensive linemen who played Sunday against the Eagles. In fact, Finney’s grade was only bested by Steelers wide receivers Antonio Brown and Eli Rogers as it relates to the offensive side of the football against the Eagles.
While Foster has long been in charge of helping communicate to center Maurkice Pouncey when to snap the football, in addition to communicating with left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, Tomlin said Tuesday that he isn’t worried about a possible drop off in that phase of the team’s offensive line play should Finney need to make his first career start Sunday night against the Chiefs.
“We’re comfortable with our ability to communicate fluidly within that group,” Tomlin said Tuesday. “We’ve got a solid veteran group in there. Obviously Ramon is a big part of that, but I don’t think this will change us in any substantial way if he’s unavailable.”
If indeed Finney does have to start in place of Foster Sunday night, you can bet his level of play will be highly scrutinized by all of us on the outside. The Kansas State product is on track to have a golden opportunity to show Sunday night at Heinz Field that not only can he be counted on to be a spot-starter, but quite possibly a long-term replacement for Foster, who is now in his eighth season and 30 years of age.
If you remember back to when he was originally signed as an undrafted free agent last year, Finney made it known at the time that it’s long been a goal of his to play for his favorite team, which in his case is the Steelers. Sunday night at home against the Chiefs, Finney could wind up making his first career start for his favorite team and on national television to boot.