2020 South Side Questions: Will Kevin Dotson Remain Top Backup Guard Even After Wisniewski Gets Back?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, following the most unique offseason in the NFL since at least World War II. While it didn’t involve a player lockout, teams still did not have physical access to their players, though they were at least able to meet with them virtually.

Even training camp looked much different from the norm, and a big part of that was the fact that there will be no games along the way to prepare for. Their first football game of the year was to be the opener against the New York Giants.

As the season progresses, however, there will be a number of questions that arise on a daily basis, and we will do our best to try to raise attention to them as they come along, in an effort to both point them out and to create discussion

Questions like, how will the players who are in new positions this year going to perform? Will the rookies be able to contribute significantly? How will Ben Roethlisberger look—and the other quarterbacks as well? Now, we even have questions about whether or not players will be in quarantine.

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: Will Kevin Dotson remain the top backup guard after Stefen Wisniewski returns from injured reserve?

Kevin Dotson was noted for his performance in his starting debut on Sunday against the Denver Broncos, especially given that he was a mid-round rookie playing in a pandemic year in which there was a limited offseason and no preseason—and he even missed time due to injury during training camp.

But with David DeCastro on the mend and looking as though he will be back in the starting lineup against the Houston Texans, it could be a while before he sees the field again. Stefen Wisniewski was signed to be the top backup interior lineman (and even to compete at left guard), but he is currently on injured reserve.

Starting this year, teams can dress an ‘extra’ eighth lineman on game days without penalty. That means if they want, they can have designated reserves for tackle, guard, and center individually. Generally, teams have one backup interior lineman who has to be capable of playing center.

With that qualification no longer necessary, it raises the possibility of having a different top reserve at guard than you have at center. Did Dotson show enough to suggest to the coaching staff that he should be the one to start in the future if DeCastro or Matt Feiler were to go down? Or will they continue to deploy Wisniewski as the next man up for all three interior positions?

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