It seems like only yesterday that the Pittsburgh Steelers signed backup offensive lineman B.J. Finney after he went undrafted. Finney, in case you weren’t aware of it, is now participating in his fourth year of OTA practices with his favorite childhood team and this past week he detailed what he focuses on the most during the padless sessions during an interview this past week on Steelers Nation Radio.
“Obviously, being at OTAs and not being in pads, we get to focus a lot on the technique,” Finney said. “So, all of our feet being in the right position, getting the hands in the right placement, because obviously, without having pads, you can’t grab ahold of anything. Sustaining blocks and getting the camaraderie and just getting that chemistry between guys that play next to each other, that’s a huge step and it gets developed here.”
In addition to working mainly on technique during OTA practices, along with building a solid camaraderie with his fellow offensive linemen, Finney also said that defensive recognition is yet another aspect that’s gone over during the summer football in shorts sessions.
“A big credit goes to Coach [Mike] Munchak for that because in the meeting room we go through all of that stuff,” Finney said. “That’s like day-one breakdown stuff, hey, this is what you’re going to see, this what they’re going into. And then we’re back here, we’re signaling in the defense so we can get a really good idea of what the front is before we even turn around to go to the play. For the centers, that’s huge. So, we’re like, ‘hey, we got three down, okay, we got this call’ or ‘we’ve got four down, okay, we got this call.’ It’s really just relaying information, eliminating a lot of things that aren’t going to happen.”
Finney also continued to sing the praises of Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak even more during the interview.
“I can say this, he’s one of the best coaches in the NFL,” Finney said of Munchak. “I don’t have to go anywhere to know that. Just the way that how calm he is. He’s been there, he’s played, he knows, and he’s still relaying information, making it simple as possible for us players now. I would be hard-pressed to find another one like him.”
While Finney predominately played at center during his college career at Kansas State, most of his nearly 550 regular season offensive snaps he’s played so far in the NFL have come at the guard position, where he’s represented himself quite nicely over the course of the last two seasons. When pressed this past week to say if he has a preference of playing either guard or center, or if he feels more comfortable at one position more than another, Finney went with somewhat of a cliche response to that question after a short pause.
“Six one way, half a dozen the other,” Finney said. “I play where they need me to play and I’ve said that before and that tune is not going to change. It’s all about making sure the team wins and my choices and everything take a back seat to that. So, I’m just going to play where they need me to play.”
This offseason Finney was easily re-signed as an exclusive rights free agent and that means he’ll be a restricted free agent come next March. In short, Finney should be a member of the Steelers for at least this season as well as next season and because of that, he’s not looking too far down the road in regard to him potentially playing anywhere other than Pittsburgh.
“That’s something that I leave up to the Lord and I pray on it every night,” Finney said about him potentially taking the same path out of Pittsburgh that now-former Steelers offensive lineman Chris Hubbard took this past offseason, that included him signing a lucrative multi-year unrestricted free agent contract with the Cleveland Browns. “You know what they say, biding my time. I’m still learning from Munch while I can and I’m learning from the three guys in front of me while I can because we’ve got one of the best of units in the league. And so, as long as I can soak up that knowledge, Lord willing I stay here. But if not, I’ve learned a lot of great things from this crew. So, like I said, leave it up to the Lord and we’ll go from there.”
As far as Finney’s overall health goes, the lineman said this past week he’s all healed up from the ankle and quad injury that forced him out of the Steelers regular season finale against the Browns. Those injuries, by the way, didn’t prevent Finney from dressing for the Steelers subsequent playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.