The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Should Stefen Wisniewski’s interior position flexibility be held against him for a starting role?
One of the perks of the Steelers signing veteran Stefen Wisniewski is the fact that he is very well-versed in playing both the guard and center positions, with plenty of starts under his belt in both spots. With B.J. Finney leaving in free agency, no matter what else happens, he is now the top backup center behind Maurkice Pouncey.
But should that be used against him in terms of determining who will be the starting left guard? It figures to be either him or Matt Feiler, who has two starts at guard and 25 at right tackle, with an outside chance that it could be rookie fourth-round pick Kevin Dotson.
There is a line of thinking that says it’s more advantageous to have Feiler start so that Wisniewski can focus on his swing job. More still, if there is an injury at center, it wouldn’t require a reshuffling of the line. Think about it.
Pouncey goes down, and Wisniewski is starting at left guard. This means Feiler is starting at right tackle. Most likely, you move Wisniewski from left guard to center and Feiler from right tackle to left guard, bringing in Chukwuma Okorafor or Zach Banner to play right tackle. You could save yourself some headaches if you can get Dotson ready to step in as the backup guard if Wisniewski is playing center, but either way, you’re changing multiple starting positions instead of one.