In a recent interview on 93.7 The Fan with Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller, former Pittsburgh Steeler OG Ramon Foster spoke about several different training camp topics, including his own personal memories from training camp in Latrobe to the highly-anticipated QB battle between the likes of Mitch Trubisky, Kenny Pickett, and Mason Rudolph.
When the show hosts asked Foster about is thoughts on the less-advertised training camp battle at the LG spot between Kevin Dotson and Kendrick Green, Foster admits that it will likely come down to who can be the most available, consistent option for the team throughout training camp and the preseason.
“It comes down to can those guys stay healthy. Can those guys win their one-on-one battles more than the other person does?” Foster said on 93.7 The Fan. “As far as Kevin Dotson’s concerned, what is this? Year Three of Four for him? Three. He’s in a position now where if he doesn’t become a starter, he’s going to end up in a backup role. And that is the God honest truth. Maybe he can find another role somewhere else. But you got to think if he gets cut after training camp, and I say him specifically because he’s the older guy, you’ve had more time.”
The writing is on the wall for Dotson coming into the 2022 season. He must deliver and no longer be that combine snub he was labeled going through the pre-draft process back in 2020. Dave Bryan said as much in a recent Terrible Take, saying Dotson can no longer rest on being a possible steal in the draft, but must now perform to rightfully earn that title as well as the starting LG spot.
Now, it may be difficult to see Dotson cut completely from the roster at the conclusion of the preseason like Foster mentions, but as we well know, the NFL is a crazy business where if you can’t execute compared to the men you are competing against, decision-makers will have no qualms moving on regardless of your past performance or draft status. While Dotson is entering only his third season in the league and has dealt with several injuries in his limited playing time, Foster is correct that he is the older guy in the room and has that experience over Kendrick Green. Should he be fully healthy like we expect him to be to start training camp, there will be little excuses for him.
As for Kendrick Green, Foster recognized that he struggled mightily at center as a rookie last season and will have to overcome that adversity if he wants to crack the starting lineup at his more natural guard position.
“Well, he’s going to have to fight through that,” Foster said on Green. “This was the first offseason he’s had as a pro. So, he should have worked on getting stronger. And I’ll say this too, changing positions at any position on the field isn’t a bad thing. It’s just that look, ‘We recognize you’re not this’. I came in as a tackle and I didn’t realize I was going to play guard in the NFL, but it was an opportunity for me to get on the field and I was much better suited for that. Center is a tough position. You got to know as much as the quarterback and you got to snap the ball and get those big bodies off of you.”
There is a lot of truth to what Foster had to say there about Kendrick Green. While he did play poorly as a starting center last season, maybe some grace should be extended to him since he was thrown into the fire early with little chance to succeed and a great chance to fail, which he did. Green primarily played guard at Illinois with barely any experience at center, and entered the draft as a redshirt junior. He was seen as an athletic, yet raw prospect coming out, profiling more as a guard than a center best suited for a wide zone system that allowed him to work in space.
Instead, Pittsburgh tried to put a square peg in a round hole and force him to play the center position with the aspirations of him starting Week 1. As a rookie third-round pick, Green wasn’t going to complain when he got the opportunity to start right out the gate, but him falling flat on his face probably should have been expected given the circumstances. Granted he needs to execute better than he did, and he will have a tough time earning excuses himself heading into Year Two as he moves back to guard, where he appears more comfortable.
Still, neither Green nor Dotson have proven to be the answer at the LG spot thus far in their respective NFL careers, and both will be given the opportunity to show the coaching staff this summer who can be the most available and consistent option for the starting job.