Will the Pittsburgh Steelers really shake up their offensive line in Sunday’s home game against the Los Angeles Rams. I certainly don’t know for sure as we sit here Thursday night, but it certainly sounds like we could see a few changes on the Steelers offensive line Sunday at Heinz Field.
Steelers guard Ramon Foster (concussion) failed to practice on Thursday so there’s a good chance he’ll miss Sunday’s game against the Rams. Additionally, Steelers starting right tackle Matt Feiler played left guard in practice Thursday while second-year offensive lineman Chukwuma Okorafor took the reps at right tackle with the first-team offense, according to Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“It’s been a while since I played there, since the preseason,” Feiler said on Thursday. “It’s coming back to me now. I feel comfortable there.”
While Feiler confirmed on Thursday that he’s worked at left guard in both practices this week, it doesn’t appear as though he’s yet to spill the beans concerning whether he’ll start at that position on Sunday against the Rams in place of Foster.
“They just want to give me reps there and keep me fresh at every position that they can,” Feiler said Thursday, according to Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
If Okorafor knows what’s ultimately going to happen on Sunday with the starting offensive line, he’s concealing it just as well as Feiler is.
“I have no idea what the game plan is,” Okorafor said on Thursday. “I’m just going to keep doing my thing. If they need me to play scout team, left tackle, right tackle, it doesn’t matter. I’ll do the same thing every day.”
Even the answer that Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner gave to the media on Thursday when asked about center/guard B.J. Finney, who started at left guard in place of Foster this past Sunday, lacked some clarity as to what may or may not happen with the offensive line Sunday against the Rams.
“Well, Finn’s been great,” Fichtner said. “Yes, we’ve been trying to piecemeal it. You talk about musical chairs, I mean, we’ve had to do some of that, too. We know we have X amount of guys who can play, so we’ve got to kind of fit them and see who’s going to be available. I still hold out hope for Ramon, you’re just not sure when you deal with those types of things.”
While Feiler has played both guard spots over the years during the preseason, he’s logged less than 10 snaps at the left guard position during a regular season game. That game was the Steelers 2017 Week 16 blowout win over the Houston Texans and Feiler relieved Finney at left guard so he could move to center so Maurkice Pouncey could be removed from the contest early.
As for Okorafor, he has yet to play a snap this season after playing just 156 offensive snaps during his 2018 rookie season. The Steelers third-round draft pick out of Western Michigan started one game last season at right tackle against the Denver Broncos and he allowed a sack and four quarterback hurries during that contest.
The Steelers aren’t known as a team that likes to tinker much with their offensive line barring injuries. And whenever those sorts of adjustments are needed to be made, they usually don’t like to affect more than one position if they can help it. However, perhaps because the Steelers will be facing Rams All-World defensive tackle Aaron Donald on Sunday, perhaps they would like to have their reported strongest offensive lineman on the team, Feiler matchup against him the most in that contest.
It’s possible that before Sunday’s kickoff rolls around that we’ll know who will be starting where on the Steelers offensive line against Rams. However, even if we don’t find out, at least we won’t be surprised if Feiler ultimately starts at left guard and Okorafor at right tackle. That would certainly be a bold strategy if that’s what happens, and it will then be interesting to see if it pays off.