Finally some Pittsburgh Steelers’ football news to bring you. In a zoom call with the media today, Mike Tomlin indicated who will be first man up at the vacant left guard and nose tackle spots once the team reports for training camp next month. It’ll be Matt Feiler at LG and Tyson Alualu at nose tackle.
Per Joe Rutter.
Mike Tomlin said Matt Feiler probably will take the first snaps at left guard and Tyson Alualu will get first snap at nose tackle once training camp begins.
— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) June 23, 2020
Tomlin explained the reason for using those two guys as the starting point.
“With the lack of opportunity for learning in the offseason and teaching, we’re acknowledging as a staff we have to make some quick decisions and then roll from there,” he said via Steelers.com. “I’ve talked to Matt Feiler, he is probably going to take the first snap at left guard, and Ty (Tyson) is going to take the first snap at nose guard. We’ll work from there.
He went on to say the comfort of having Banner and Okorafor, two guys heading into their third year with the team, made them feel comfortable about initially kicking Feiler inside.
“Those young tackles in Zach Banner and Chuks (Okorafor) have been here and have played. So, the combination of those guys provides the most experience for us and that is probably the appropriate place to begin.”
Departing from those spots are Ramon Foster, who retired after a stellar Steelers’ career, and Javon Hargrave, cashing in on a long-term deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. Feiler started one game at left guard last season when Foster missed, playing well against Aaron Donald’s Rams, and is the early favorite to win the job. That creates a vacancy at right tackle where Chukwuma Okorafor and Zach Banner will battle it out. If neither show they can win the job, Feiler could kick to tackle again. That would leave Stefen Wisniewski and rookie Kevin Dotson, with Wisniewski the favorite, to step in at left guard.
Alualu has never played base nose tackle before but has always been a steady run defender. He’s getting the initial look over Dan McCullers, an actual nose tackle, but someone who’s been a backup throughout his entire career.
Tomlin did later say there could be a rotation between both men.
“He and Dan (McCullers) are going to start, but [Alualu] probably take the first snaps based on the things I have talked about relative to current circumstances and we’ll go from there.”
These battles are sure to be fluid and will likely have different players rotating in. But it’s sensible to believe Week 1 against the Giants that Feiler will be the team’s left guard and Alualu the man in the middle at nose tackle.