The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season is now in the books. It ended in spectacular fashion — though the wrong kind of spectacular — in a dismal postseason defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, sending them into an early offseason mode after going 12-4 in the regular season and winning the AFC North for the first time in three years.
Since then, they have lost several players in free agency who were key members of the offense and defense. Multiple starters retired, as well. They made few notable additions in free agency, and are banking on contributions on offense from their rookies, as well as perhaps a last ride for Ben Roethlisberger.
The only thing facing them now as they head into 2021 is more questions. Right now, they lack answers. They know that they have Roethlisberger for one more year, but was that even the right decision? How successful can Najee Harris be behind a questionable offensive line? What kind of changes can Matt Canada and Adrian Klemm bring to the offense? And how can the defense retain the status quo with the losses of Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson, and Mike Hilton?
These are the sorts of questions we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football is a year-round pastime and there are always questions to ask, though there is rarely a concrete answer. This is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all of their uncertainty.
Question: How will Trai Turner do as David DeCastro’s replacement?
While it was not a complete shock, as there was a bit of smoke—he only made one brief appearance all offseason—it was still a surprise when the news broke yesterday afternoon that the Steelers had released Pro Bowl right guard David DeCastro.
His release follows the retirement of Maurkice Pouncey and the free agency departures of Alejandro Villanueva and Matt Feiler, accounting for their four most long-term starters outside of Ramon Foster and Marcus Gilbert over the past decade.
The Steelers did turn around quickly and sign free agent guard Trai Turner, a Pro Bowler with whom they visited last week. Obviously, the plan will be for him to come in right away and start at right guard.
The line is going to look drastically different this year, and puts the onus on young players to step up. Kevin Dotson is projected to play at left guard, Kendrick Green possibly at center. Zach Banner, who won the starting right tackle job last year but only played in one game before getting hurt, is supposed to be back there. Either Chukwuma Okorafor or possibly rookie Dan Moore Jr. will be on the left side.
Now Turner is the most experienced player in that room. He’s also been hampered by injures for a number of years. What quality level of play will they be able to get out of him?