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—some already decided, some not.
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 was re-signed, but Trai Turner was not. James Daniels and Mason Cole were added in free agency.
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: Will Kendrick Green get many first-team reps (whether at center or guard) during OTAs?
Kendrick Green was a plug-and-play starter last season as a rookie, depending on how literally you want to be. They did plug him in, and he did play, but that doesn’t necessarily speak to the quality of his performance, which in the reviews of nearly everybody who watched him, was lacking.
The third-round pick did show some rather modest improvements toward the middle of the season, but they seemed to be in no rush to get him back in the starting lineup after he suffered a minor injury that actually didn’t cause him to miss any games—as general manager Kevin Colbert would later explain, they dressed him as an emergency reserve even though he wasn’t healthy enough for them to be comfortable starting him, or at least that’s what they had to say.
Since the end of last season, though, the Steelers signed not one, but two free-agent offensive linemen who are capable of playing center. They also have J.C. Hassenauer returning from last season, who filled in for Green at center late in the year, and outperformed him.
I think it goes without saying that he isn’t going to be handed a starting job this year. But he’ll have a chance to earn it. Where does he start? Will he be working at center with the first appearance of the first-team offense? Will he be at guard? Will he be asked to play on the second-team unit instead, behind some combination of James Daniels, Mason Cole, Kendrick Green, and J.C. Hassenauer?