The Pittsburgh Steelers have gotten the second-most total snaps out of their rookie class this year compared to the rest of the NFL. They have four starters on offense, in addition to a nickel defensive back and their punter. It’s tallied over 1,000 snaps through four games, on pace for well over 4,000 by season’s end.
245 of those snaps have come from third-round center Kendrick Green, who has been the subject of some frustrations this young season because, quite frankly, he has struggled to adjust to the NFL level, and to the center position on a full-time basis, something he’s been open about. But his coaches see the progress, and the work he puts in.
“I think he’s seeing things better every week”, offensive coordinator Matt Canada said of Green on Thursday, via transcript. “His vast experience is only four games, but it is four games. I think he’s getting better every week, every quarter, probably every drive. We’ve been happy with how hard he’s working and the job he’s doing’.
The Illinois product has unfortunately found himself on his back, or at least on the ground, too often so far this season, and he has struggled to get quick hands on defensive tackles, allowing himself to be controlled in the run game.
At other times, however, he has certainly flashes his ability, particularly his athleticism. He is able to get out on the second level or to pull. As long as they keep seeing those flashes, while he works to minimize the frequency of his losses, I’m sure they’ll stick with him. They understand he’s not a rookie anymore.
“I’m not in the locker room. I don’t know what they’re telling him, but I don’t think anybody’s too worried about whether he’s a rookie or not that we’re playing”, Canada said. “We’ve all got to play up to the standard and he knows that, and I think he’s doing a great job trying to do be as good as he can be every day”.
One thing that has never been a knock against Green is his work ethic. In fact, it has been consistently praised throughout the offseason process, including by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who talked about the work his rookie center put in between minicamp and training camp.
Is it simply a matter of time before the reps click in and he is able to maximize his abilities? Are his maximal abilities sufficient to be a long-term starting option at center? There is nothing about his size or his tape that says he can’t, even if he might lack some ideal measurements or attributes. There’s more than enough there to work with.