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: Will Kendrick Green start, even if he dresses?
Rookie center Kendrick Green suffered an injury last in last week’s game. He missed the first two days of practice heading into tomorrow night’s game, and only worked on a limited basis on the final day of practice. He is listed as questionable, but it’s difficult to parse what that means.
Head coach Mike Tomlin often likes to say of young players that practice time is paramount, the implication being that if they don’t practice, they will likely have a limited role, if they even dress at all. That makes me wonder if the Steelers might dress Green, but not actually start him.
This can be for multiple reasons. For one, it could be just because he hasn’t practiced enough. For another, it could be because he’s not quite healthy enough to be expected to go 70 snaps, but is healthy enough to dress as an emergency, something we’ve seen happen in the past, with Matt Feiler back in 2018, for example.
Then there’s the possibility that he could just be benched due to quality of play. Of course, it could be a combination of multiple factors. Or, he could dress and start the game. Or he could not dress at all. Either way, there’s a good chance that J.C. Hassenauer will be the center for the final home game of Ben Roethlisberger’s career.