Now that the 2020 regular season has begun, following a second consecutive season in which they failed to even reach the playoffs, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we are seeing over the course of the season as it plays out. Who is making plays? Who is missing them? Who is losing snaps? Who is struggling to stay on the field?
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: G Kevin Dotson
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: After leaving Sunday’s game with what head coach Mike Tomlin initially described as a pectoral injury, he said yesterday that Dotson actually suffered a shoulder injury, and that he could potentially be available for the team’s next game.
With the Steelers losing starting left guard Matt Feiler for the remainder of the regular season due to a pectoral injury, both depth and the starting lineup is a concern. How big of a concern hinges upon the status of rookie guard Kevin Dotson, who has started a couple of games this year and logged about a couple hundred offensive snaps.
The fourth-round pick replaced Feiler after he was injured in the first half, but Dotson would go down himself. Head coach Mike Tomlin initially classified it as a pectoral injury, but on Tuesday, corrected himself, calling it a shoulder injury.
He also said that Dotson would not be ruled out for the week, but, especially being a rookie, his availability for Monday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals will depend upon his level of participation in practice—in other words, they will let practice be their guide.
It would be a big boon if he is able to start on Monday, because the alternative is J.C. Hassenauer, who has been less than inspiring over the past few games when he has been in the lineup, especially since he is better suited to play center than guard.
But the fact that the injury could have been more serious, and that it’s not, is reason enough to celebrate. Even if he does end up missing the Bengals game, they shouldn’t expect to be without him for much longer than that.
And whenever he is available, he will have at least a two- or three-game opportunity to get some quality playing time, which should be good both for himself and for the team. Obviously, they want to get Feiler back as soon as possible, but having a battle-tested backup is valuable as well.