While there are many areas of concern for this 1-2 Pittsburgh Steelers team, the offensive line has been the subject of the most consternation, not just now, but throughout the entirety of the offseason. Three games into the year, things are looking no better, with a line consisting of two rookies, a vet free agent on the downside, a second-year player, and a guy playing the position he lost the training camp battle for last year.
Rookie center Kendrick Green has arguably been the worst starter of the five so far, though you can make a case for others, certainly. Outside of a few lowlights, Chukwuma Okorafor has mostly held up in pass protection, but has been a clear liability in the running game.
The possibility of Zach Banner returning to the field, and potentially starting—he was projected at right tackle—is at least one option, whether or not it would actually improve anything. However, it appears that Gerry Dulac suggested another change could be considered, getting B.J. Finney in the starting lineup.
At left guard, for Kevin Dotson, the second-year starter whom onlookers felt the best about of any potential starting offensive lineman this season. According to Andrew Fillipponi, that was Dulac’s report on KDKA TV last night; that if the Steelers make a change on the offensive line, it would be to get Dotson out of there.
How about this: Per the venerable @gerrydulac in his KDKA-TV Steelers report tonight. IF a change gets made on the Steelers offensive line, Kevin Dotson would come out of the lineup for BJ Finney. Kendrick Green will remain at center.
— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) October 1, 2021
There was one single report from back during minicamp that suggested the Steelers were not happy with Dotson—for one reason or another. The report even went so far as to suggest that veteran Trai Turner was originally brought in for a visit to potentially take over for Dotson, and that after he was signed to replace David DeCastro, they may consider bringing in yet another lineman.
When training camp opened, he was sidelined for a couple of weeks or so with an ankle injury. Head coach Mike Tomlin made some remarks when he did return saying that he hadn’t earned anything yet when asked why he was running with the second-team offensive line, and even started on the second-team line in the first preseason game in which he played.
But he played very well once he was back on the field, and it wasn’t long that he was, again, working with the starters. Pro Football Focus was one outlet predicting a big year for him based on what he showed in the preseason.
The regular season has been a different story; this is clearly the worst that we have seen him look in a game so far. But contextually, he isn’t the worst-performing lineman. The idea of flipping him for Finney seems more like moving one of the less beat-up deck chairs on the Titanic to me.
But we’ll see if any changes are made, and if so, if it’s at Dotson’s expense. Until then, this is just another unsubstantiated, uncorroborated report.