Kendrick Green was supposed to be the next great Pittsburgh Steelers following the footsteps of Mansfield, Webster, Dawson, and Pouncey, the latter name he was tasked to replace. One year in and Green doesn’t seem to be next in-line. In fact, by all reports during the first week of OTAs, Green is now a candidate to play guard, not man the middle. And o-line expect and personal trainer Duke Manyweather, who is working with Green, believes that’s the smartest thing the Steelers could do.
Manyweather joined Ron Cook and Joe Starkey of 93.7 The Fan to talk about Green and the Steelers’ offensive line.
“Kendrick Green having the opportunity to compete and really kind of settle in back at probably the guard spot, which he’s probably better fit to play,” Manyweather told the show. “He was kind of moved to center last year with really short experience at center.”
Pittsburgh hoped Green would take a similar path as Dawson, a guard at Kentucky who made the switch to center. Jeff Hartings made a similar transition as a free agent signing from Detroit. But no two situations are alike and Green was thrown into the fire from Day One. That could be the key difference. Dawson didn’t start most of his rookie season with four of his five starts coming to end the year. Hartings was an established NFL veteran who wasn’t adjusting to the jump in play and a new position like Green experienced.
Curiously, the Steelers viewed Green as a Day One ready player when he was anything at but to play center. Green was an underclassmen who spent most of his Illinois career at guard, only seeing spot-starts or emergency action in the middle. Green was the Steelers’ starter from the first day of camp and never looked back until a late-season injury sent him out of the lineup. Even when he got healthy, the team kept him on the bench in place of J.C. Hassenuaer, who was more successful.
During last week’s OTAs, Green reportedly shifted to guard with the idea of competing with Kevin Dotson or more likely, serving as a versatile backup. That’s how Manyweather envisions things.
“I think he’s probably a better fit at guard and give them some depth and competition there as well.”
A B.J. Finney type of career might be the best current arc for Green, a reliable backup who can step in and play any of the three interior spots. If that’s the case, he’ll also need reps at right guard, where he’s seldom worked before and that won’t be an automatic or easy transition either. But if you’re a backup, as Green is likely to become, you better be versatile. Beyond that, he needs to work on his strike and overall hand use to handle power rushers who will try to overpower him with strength and size.
Check out the whole conversation on The Fan below.