Now that the regular season has begun, following yet another year of disappointment, a fourth consecutive season with no postseason victories, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen and are seeing over the course of the offseason and the regular season as it plays out. We will also be reviewing players based on their previous season and their prospects for the future. A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasoning. In some cases, it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances, it will be a direct response to something that just happened. Because of this, we can and will see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: C Kendrick Green
Stock Value: Down
Reasoning: The Steelers’ offensive line as a whole had their hands full with the Chicago Bears’ front seven, but the interior in particular struggled, and Monday’s game marked a step back for the rookie center.
When dealing with young players, particularly rookies, the thing you look for above all else is progress. As long as guys are getting better, that’s all you can expect. But it’s also unrealistic to figure there won’t be ups and downs.
Rookie third-round pick Kendrick Green, along with the rest of the offensive line as a whole, had been getting better and growing in recent weeks after struggling a lot in the early portions of the season. Monday’s game against the Bears did mark a setback, which head coach Mike Tomlin was open about Tuesday.
“Some things that captured our attention that need to be improved or we took a step back– just in terms of controlling the line of scrimmage on offense, I thought we didn’t do that”, he said during his pre-game press conference. “That was a step back relative to recent weeks”.
The Steelers failed three times to convert on the ground on 3rd and 1 during the game. The interior offensive line failed to get push each time, with Green in particular struggling there, working against the likes of Eddie Goldman, and linebacker Roquan Smith, both of whom are very good players.
The thing about a setback is its impact is determined by how you respond to it. That’s on Green’s plate now, and his next challenge is the Detroit Lions, who admittedly do not have the sort of defensive front that gives you nightmares, though, as with any NFL team, they do have talent.
The Steelers cannot afford for games such as this to become a pattern for Green, on whom they are depending, not just now, but for the future. He was drafted to be their starting center to succeed Maurkice Pouncey after his retirement, even being granted his predecessor’s No. 53 jersey. They wouldn’t have given it to him if expectations weren’t high.