The regular season marks the culmination of an extensive investigation into who your team will be that year. By this point, you’ve gone through free agency, the draft, training camp, and the preseason. You feel good in your decisions insofar as you can create clarity without having played meaningful games. But there are still plenty of uncertainties that remain, whether at the start of the regular season or the end, and new ones continually develop over time.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: The starting offensive line should not be tinkered with just yet.
Explanation: Outside of one player missing one start, the Steelers have had ‘stability’, for lack of a better word, along the offensive line through the first six weeks of the season. Their two rookie starters are getting acclimated to the game, and the group as a whole is slowly settling into the new offense and new blocking structure.
You’re more likely to set your offensive line back by making changes right now than you are to improve anything. The Steelers’ current starting five is facing a positive upward trajectory, and the bye week is an important self-evaluative period in which they can make any necessary adjustments to get everybody on the same page.
Players like Kendrick Green are only getting better as they play more, a reminder that sometimes it’s most advisable to allow people to work through their lumps rather than expecting high quality immediately.
And it’s not like there are many alternative options in the first place. The most significant name is Zach Banner, and he has one career start while coming back from a knee injury that has already caused him to have one setback.
The bye week is the best time to make lineup changes if they’re coming. It’s Banner’s time to be plugged into the lineup. They wanted to give him as much time as possible, with head coach Mike Tomlin saying they wanted to make that decision after the bye.
Banner will, and should, be plugged in at right tackle, who should be an improvement for the run game, if nothing else. Many will also want the team to consider Joe Haeg as an option, who has filled in well when called upon.
The bottom line is that, yes, they should be open to making changes, if they feel they have options that might be better. Yeah, they paid Trai Turner, but is he really playing so well? B.J. Finney’s name has come up. Whether they would or should actually make such a change, this is the time to consider tinkering.