Now that the 2021 season is over, bringing yet another year of disappointment, a fifth 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 season and into the offseason 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: iOL Kendrick Green
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: General manager Kevin Colbert told reporters earlier this week that the decision to start J.C. Hassenauer at the end of the 2021 season was due to Kendrick Green’s health, and not his performance, indicating that the organization still believes he is a starter-caliber player.
If you didn’t like the last two entries in this column, you’re certainly not going to like this one. I’ve learned over the years that it’s never okay to write positively about a maligned player nor negatively about a beloved one, because it’s invariably wrong, no matter how specific that subject is.
To address yesterday’s article on Devin Bush, I specifically listed the reasoning for the stock evaluation as being a result of the organizational support shown in Kevin Colbert’s comments about the beleaguered linebacker. That particular evaluation had no bearing on his actual play from the 2021 season, which I’ve already addressed since the season ended.
Likewise, this article about second-year interior offensive lineman Kendrick Green has nothing directly to do with our own evaluation of his 2021 performance, which, again, has already been addressed in this column, and thus is a separate topic.
As stated above, the reasoning for this article is because Colbert came out this week and effectively said that Green was not benched, at least because of his performance, at the end of last season, even though J.C. Hassenauer started the final three games of the year at center.
Green suffered an injury in week 16 against the Kansas City Chiefs. He missed nearly all of the following week of practice, but he still dressed as an emergency option. Yet Hassenauer continued to start in the regular-season finale, and then for the postseason, with Green not even getting onto the field in those final three games.
Colbert explained that they dressed him during that time only as an emergency, and that he wasn’t 100 percent healthy, which is not shocking following a calf injury. Part of the reason, according to the team, that he was held out of the starting lineup down the stretch was to make sure they get him ‘right’, as in healthy, without exacerbating the injury and affecting his offseason.
Now, you can choose to buy into that as much or as little as you wish, but for us, we can only go by what the team says, and, well, it’s not like the Steelers don’t have a history of sticking with players that fans think shouldn’t be playing. Remember Kevin Dotson taking a seat in favor of Matt Feiler in 2020 and how you were all mad about that? It’s entirely plausible that, yeah, Pittsburgh would have kept playing Green if he were healthy, and yes, I was among those advocating for his being benched.