Pittsburgh Steelers rookie guard Kevin Dotson made his first NFL start on Sunday against the Denver Broncos and on the surface he played extremely well. On Monday, Dotson, the Steelers second of two fourth-round draft picks this year, talked about his first NFL start during a Zoom media session.
Dotson made it clear on Monday that he was anything but nervous when it came to starting on Sunday at right guard against the Broncos.
“I don’t get too nervous about paying in games, playing football,” said Dotson, according to Teresa Varley of steelers.com. “I get more nervous about real life situations. I have done football long enough to know what could possibly happen and not get nervous.”
At Louisiana-Lafayette Dotson, who was surprisingly not invited to the 2020 scouting combine, started 52 consecutive games at right guard so it’s not stunning that he might have been more confident than most NFL rookies ahead of him making his first NFL start just two games into his career. Not only that, Dotson was afforded the opportunity to play a little at the end of the Steelers Week 1 Monday night game against the New York Giants. That gave him a tiny taste of real NFL action ahead of his first start on Sunday at Heinz Field.
The television tape from Sunday’s game shows that Dotson fared well in pass protection against the Broncos defense and early stats from Pro Football Focus indicate he didn’t allow a single pressure in the 42 plays that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger dropped back on. While Dotson’s run blocking also was above the line, he admitted on Monday it could have been better.
“I think I did better in my pass protection,” said Dotson. “I don’t think I did too bad in either, but I think I did better in my pass not giving up any sacks against a quality opponent. People who know football know that I am more versatile than just being a run blocker. The people who know the position, know I am not just a run blocker. It was good to be able to prove it to other people.”
While the Broncos defensive front didn’t pose too much of challenge to the Steelers offensive line throughout the game, Dotson said on Monday he felt prepared for whomever he lined up across from on Sunday due to who he had to practice against during training camp.
“If you would have asked me before the season started, I would have said I could imagine the game going crazy and it being hard blocking these people,” said Dotson. “I have been taking practice reps with (Stephon) Tuitt and Cam (Heyward) and T.J. (Watt) these weeks, so getting in the game I have confidence going against anybody defensive line wise.”
Will Dotson start in Week 3 against the Houston Texans? It’s hard to say as we sit here on Monday as it will all depend on the status of the teams usual starting right guard David DeCastro, who has missed the team’s first two games of the 2020 season with a knee injury. In the meantime, Dotson indicated on Monday he’ll take a hard look at his game tape from Sunday and begin the process of getting better and being ready for whenever it is he’ll be asked to play again.
“I am easily my hardest critic,” Dotson said. “Even going from high school to college, I thought if I am not actively pancaking somebody, I am not doing a good job. I have to realize that doesn’t come too often. I feel like I did good, but I can do way better.”