The offensive line is Kevin Dotson’s purview, as you might expect, given that he is a guard for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He spent a lot of time talking about the offensive line when he was made available to the media on Wednesday, a unit that is facing a lot of questions on the field.
One of the biggest questions is how quickly a unit that is starting two rookies can progress into a cohesive whole, especially for a team that has already struggled so much, for example, to move the ball on the ground. Fortunately, Dotson thinks, he is seeing what he needs to see from those two rookies, Kendrick Green and Dan Moore Jr., to believe that they can work.
“Definitely, I can see it out of KG and Dan”, he told reporters when he was asked about seeing growth and development from the two rookies. “I could see them adapting. They ask a lot of questions. They’re smart. They adapt to the environment they’re in, so I feel very confident in their ability”.
Green was drafted in the third round out of Illinois, and it was assumed from the jump that he would most likely be a day-one starter due to the circumstances at his position. The Steelers just had 11-year veteran center Maurkice Pouncey retire, and their only other options were a pair of career backups in B.J. Finney and J.C. Hassenauer.
As for Moore, the real prospects of him starting only came on late, and by necessity. Zach Banner, projected to start at right tackle coming back from a torn ACL, wasn’t quite ready to get back, and so has started the year on the Reserve/Injured List.
That move prompted the Steelers to push Chukwuma Okorafor from left tackle back to right tackle, because Moore is more comfortable on the left side and had more success playing there during the preseason. While Okorafor is ostensibly more comfortable on the left as well, he has much more experience on the right.
Both of the rookies have been shaky, as mentioned. The most notable issue between them has been the frequency with which Green finds himself on the ground, but Moore has also struggled some against the pass rush—not that he has had easy assignments through two weeks.
But rookies come in and play and they grow through the experience. Dotson believes that he is already seeing the growth process taking seed with his two new teammates, to his right and his left, promising better and more cohesive play to come down the line.