The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is over, already eliminated from the postseason after suffering a 42-21 loss at the hands of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. They just barely made the postseason with a 9-7-1 record and a little help from their friends.
This is an offseason of major change, with the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger, the possible retirement of general manager Kevin Colbert, and the decisions about the futures of many important players to be made, such as Joe Haden, Stephon Tuitt, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and others.
Aside from exploring their options at the quarterback position, the top global priority, once again, figures to be addressing the offensive line, which they did not do quite adequately enough a year ago. Dan Moore Jr. looks like he may have a future as a full-time starter, but Kendrick Green was clearly not ready. Chukwuma Okorafor is heading into free agency, as is Trai Turner.
These are the sorts of topics 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 are the odds of J.C. Hassenauer being the Steelers’ starting center for the 2022 season opener?
Suffice it to say that the Steelers’ offensive line was not a finished product in 2021. Not at the beginning of the year. Not at the end of the year, either. And it’s hard to even say how much progress has been made since the start of last offseason
Maybe the only thing we can say with a decent degree of confidence is that Dan Moore Jr. will be a starting tackle in 2022—most likely at left tackle unless they draft or sign a left tackle. Perhaps Kevin Dotson will be starting at left guard again, but that shouldn’t be set in stone right now, either.
The center position has to be viewed as open, obviously, and the man who started there most of the season, Kendrick Green, is presumably not even the favorite to start there at the beginning of the 2022 season. Both players and coaches have begun talking about him switching positions very openly.
J.C. Hassenauer wrapped up the season starting at center. Head coach Mike Tomlin did say yesterday that he ultimately started because he was the better option. Will he be the best option by the time September rolls around?
The obvious response would be, it depends on what the Steelers do in the offseason. There’s a really good chance they draft at least one lineman in the top three rounds, quite possibly two, and that it/one will be an interior player. And there will always be veterans available—like Sean Mahan.