Stepping into a new role on a new team brings its own set of unique challenges for Pittsburgh Steelers right guard James Daniels. After spending the first four seasons of his career as a member of the Chicago Bears following his selection in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Daniels is trying to get up to speed within a new system while getting to know new teammates.
He’s adjusted rather well, and has also been able to observe and get to know his new teammates. One guy in the trenches he’s been rather impressed with so far in training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe is second-year lineman Kendrick Green, who is coming off of a disastrous rookie season at center, which led to a position change this offseason to left guard, which was his natural position coming out of college at Illinois.
So far, the switch has gone rather well for Green, who seems to be taking advantage of an injury to Kevin Dotson, putting himself front and center in the left guard starting job battle in training camp. Though he had a really rough go of things at center in 2021, Green has shaken off last season and is putting in the work at guard to get back onto the field and show the Steelers they made the right decision in investing in him last year.
Right now, he’s catching the attention of Daniels, who spoke with reporters Thursday prior to practice in Latrobe and praised Green for the work he’s putting in, and the progress he’s made so far.
“K’s been doing a really good job. He always asks me questions on, like, how I would do a block. And I always tell him, like, this is what I would do or like, I wouldn’t do this, I would do that,” Daniels said to reporters Thursday, according to video via Steelers.com. “And I mean, he’s always trying to learn new information…it is good for him. He’s really improved over the past [few months] since OTAs. He’s really improved. So I’m excited. He’s a very hard worker, so it’s good. It’s good to see him working.”
There was never any question of Green’s work ethic or determination. Rather, there were questions about his size and overall ability to play center in the NFL. Those questions were never answered last season. Now though, back in his natural position, Green is seemingly thriving, drawing praise from teammates.
Gaining praise from Daniels is big for Green, as the newest Steelers offensive lineman knows a thing or two about moving around a bunch in the NFL. Green has worked hard, is doing everything he can to get back on the field, and is leaning on veteran teammates to try and improve in a hurry. That’s all anyone can ask of the second-year pro.
On the field, it seems to be paying off for Green.