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 rookie center continues to struggle week after week, finding himself on the ground before the play is over far too often, while his snaps remain erratic.
It’s an all too common image, unfortunately, to watch a snap from number 53 sail high on Ben Roethlisberger, forcing him to play shortstop to save a wild pitch. The good thing is that he’s used to doing it, having done it with Maurkice Pouncey for the majority of his career. The bad news is that it’s not Maurkice Pouncey anymore, and erratic snapping is about the closest thing Kendrick Green has in common with him right now.
The nine-time Pro Bowler retired this offseason, and the Steelers drafted Green to replace him, another athletic center. Yet while he is not the biggest prospect, he has not even played to his size, repeatedly getting manhandled at the point of attack. The claim is that he is actually strong. But his hand usage and technique lead to him being overwhelmed with regularity.
Thursday night against the Minnesota Vikings was easily one of the worst games of his young career thus far, and that’s not even giving consideration to the fact that it was one of the worst games he’s had as a snapper—in a dome.
With J.C. Hassenauer potentially returning from the Reserve/Injured List before the Steelers’ next game, one really has to wonder if head coach Mike Tomlin will give serious consideration to benching the rookie. It wouldn’t be the first one he’s sat down. He did it to Jarvis Jones back in 2013. Though injuries were a factor, it happened to Ryan Shazier at year later, as well.
One worked out better than the other, to state the obvious. But it’s obvious that what we’re seeing out of Green is not good enough right now, and he frankly should not be starting if the Steelers have another viable option. That doesn’t mean he can’t still be a good player with more practice, but he is in over his head as a rookie. Not even David DeCastro was David DeCastro until a few seasons into his career. Speaking of whom…wonder how his ankle’s feeling.