The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is underway, and they are hoping for a better outcome in comparison to last season. After starting out 11-0, they finished the year 1-4 in the regular season, and then lost in the Wildcard Round to the Cleveland Browns, ignited by a 0-28 first quarter.
They have lost a large number of key players in the offseason, like Maurkice Pouncey, Bud Dupree, Alejandro Villanueva, David DeCastro, Mike Hilton, and Steven Nelson, but they’ve also made significant additions as the months have gone on, notably Trai Turner, Melvin Ingram, Joe Schobert, and Ahkello Witherspoon. They also added Najee Harris, Pat Freiermuth, Kendrick Green, and Dan Moore Jr., all of whom are starting.
There isn’t much left to do but to play the games at this point. Even if they play them poorly. They still have a lot to figure out, though, such as what Matt Canada’s offense is going to look like in any given week, or how the new-look secondary and offensive line is going to play.
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.
Question: What changes, if any, will be made along the offensive and defensive lines over the next two weeks?
The Steelers currently have four offensive linemen on the Reserve/Injured and Reserve/COVID-19 Lists, those being starting left guard Kevin Dotson, reserve interior linemen B.J. Finney and J.C. Hassenauer, and reserve tackle/guard Joe Haeg, the latter on the COVID-19 List.
John Leglue, who made his NFL debut three games ago, made his first career start on Thursday. It could have gone better. Dotson is now eligible to be activated from the Reserve/Injured List, but whether or not he is healthy enough is unknown. That is one obvious possible change.
Hassenauer is also eligible to be activated, but, again, his health status is unknown. Would the Steelers consider playing him at center over rookie Kendrick Green? Would that consider plugging Zach Banner into the starting lineup and reshuffling the tackle spots?
On the other side, they have Montravius Adams now at nose tackle, who has only been here for about two weeks. Is he their best answer, and will the extra time this week help him play more sound football? Will Carlos Davis finally get a helmet again, and in what capacity? Would they consider demoting Chris Wormley, or is he their best starting option in lieu of Stephon Tuitt?
Then there’s the matter of Khalil Davis on the practice squad. They did earlier try to claim him off waivers, which would have meant he would have been on the 53-man roster, so they were willing to carry him before. Head coach Mike Tomlin said they “would not be bashful” about looking at their personnel over this break, so…what will that look like a week or two from now?