A little over two weeks from now, the Pittsburgh Steelers will hit Chuck Noll Field in the rolling hills of Latrobe at St. Vincent College for another great iteration of Steelers’ training camp.
There, with fans back in the stands and on the hallowed grounds where past Steelers’ greats have been made, some key members of the Steelers will find themselves in position battles ahead of a pivotal 2022 season.
One of those players will be left guard Kevin Dotson, who struggled mightily with injuries in 2021, putting his spot in jeopardy. He’ll find himself in a battle with 2021 third-round pick Kendrick Green, who flamed out in his switch to center full-time as a rookie, but is now moving back to left guard — his natural position — ahead of his second season, in which he aims to bounce back and carve out a role with the black and gold.
Ahead of Steelers’ training camp, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette beat writer Brian Batko — in a recent mailbag with readers — suggested that he believes the training camp battle between Dotson and Green will be the “most wide-open” of the bunch, featuring quarterback, defensive end, inside linebacker and free safety.
Asked by a reader which training camp battle he was most looking forward to, Batko highlighted the battle for left guard on an interior offensive line that will look much different in Week 1 on Sept. 11 against the Cincinnati Bengals than it did last season.
“I’d say left guard. Kind of a boring answer, I guess, but to me the Kevin Dotson-Kendrick Green competition will be the fiercest of any and is probably the most wide-open,” Batko writes in his mailbag with readers.
That sounds about right, honestly. The quarterback position will gain all of the attention, but it doesn’t feel like much of a competition at this point, based off of how things were handled in OTAs and mandatory minicamp. It’s very clear that Mitch Trubisky is out in front, with Mason Rudolph left to pick up any second-team reps available. Then there’s rookie Kenny Pickett as the third-team quarterback — for now.
Along the defensive line, we’ll see what happens with Larry Ogunjobi, Tyson Alualu and Chris Wormley and how that truly shakes out, though some base combination of Cameron Heyward, Tyson Alualu and Larry Ogunjobi will be my guess. Inside linebacker is Devin Bush’s to lose, and Terrell Edmunds feels entrenched at strong safety over free agent signee Damontae Kazee.
That leaves left guard. Dotson has been preparing for a battle and is looking forward to being pushed for the first time in his career, even dating back to college at Louisiana, while Green is trying to shake off a disastrous rookie season and show he’s valuable to a rebuilt offensive line.
“I love competition,” Dotson said, according to reporting from Jeff Hathhorn via 93.7 The Fan. “It brings out the best in you and I want to see the best of myself. In college I really didn’t have anyone backing me up. I got the big head in college because anyone behind me I really didn’t have any fights against.”
With a push from Green, Dotson should be able to ascend to high level of play he showed as a rookie once again. In the end, the Steelers’ offensive line should be better for it, even if Green is the one that ends up beating out Dotson. Competition breeds excellence, and that’s exactly what the Steelers’ young offensive line is aiming for under new offensive line coach Pat Meyer.
That’ll be a fun battle to watch throughout training camp, even if it is a bit of a boring answer.