The Buffalo Bills welcome the Pittsburgh Steelers’ problems. And vice versa. As Kendrick Green so eloquently put it today, opponents have little sympathy for what your team is dealing with. The Steelers are dealing with a brand new offensive line, five new starters compared to this time a year ago. That includes two rookies, Green and left tackle Dan Moore Jr. Green knows he and the rest of the line needs to grow up. And fast.
“Nobody cares,” Green told reporters after practice via video provided by the team. “It’s the NFL, nobody cares if you’re a rookie. Nobody cares if you’ve been playing for 30 years. All one in the same. You gotta go out there and do your job. That’s how I and I know a lot of the other young guys look at it, too.”
Pittsburgh overhauled its offensive line for good reason. The unit simply wasn’t strong enough in 2020, especially in the run game, and it led to Ben Roethlisberger throwing far too often, something Mike Tomlin today admitted was a mistake.
That led the organization to draft a guy like Green, taken in the third round and basically given the chance to lose the starting center job. Green was the starter wire-to-wire and played well enough to hold off veterans J.C. Hassenauer and B.J. Finney.
But Green, and he’s said as much, will need to find a more consistent level of plays starting Sunday. His highs are impressive, a torquey run blocker with great burst and overall athleticism, but he’s still working on his technique and hand use in pass protection. He’s also working on not being quite so self-critical, something his quarterback is reminding him of.
“I feel like I’m kind of an emotional player. Sometimes I get really into the game. Knowing I do something bad, I’m screaming at myself and stuff like that. But Ben’s absolutely right. Just trying to work on ‘next play’ mentality. He gets on me about that sometime. So that’s something I need to work on.”
Green and this O-line will get welcomed to the NFL in short order, facing a tough Bills’ defense and scheme this weekend. Buffalo has some young faces of their own. Their first two draft picks were defensive lineman in Gregory Rousseau and Carlos Basham. Rousseau is a great athlete who reportedly has impressed this summer, even after opting out of 2020, while Basham is a big, strong, interior type of rusher.