If we’re taking it as a given that Mitch Trubisky is going to open the season as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ starting quarterback, and that George Pickens is going to claim the third wide receiver role, then the only remaining starting job in contention on the offensive side of the ball is that of left guard.
While third-year Kevin Dotson is the incumbent, he has also missed some time due to injury. He is in direct competition with second-year Kendrick Green, who was the team’s starting center a year ago. And new offensive line coach Pat Meyer has been closely tracking the two, as you would imagine.
“I’m seeing competition, day-in and day-out between those two young men”, he told reporters about the young linemen at left guard earlier this week, via Jeff Hathhorn of 93.7 The Fan. “That’s what they are, they are two young guys. Young in their careers in the NFL, two dogs and one bone. They are chewing on it every day”.
Dotson started the first nine games of the 2021 season after earning the starting job on a full-time basis, but he suffered what proved to be an ankle injury severe enough to put him on the sideline for the rest of the year. He came in with a bit of hype after performing relatively well in four spot starts as a rookie a year earlier.
As for Green, he has been very open about the fact that he is much more comfortable playing guard, although he has walked back some comments made about his distaste for playing center—perhaps after the realization dawned on him that he may still have to play there. But the winner of the competition should not get comfortable, either way.
“Whoever wins the job will be penciled in as the guy, the other will continue to push him”, Meyer told Hathhorn. It sounds as though the Steelers believe that the two are similar enough in talent level that they can’t reasonably expect one over the other to take command of the job.
It’s probably not dissimilar to the 2020 season, when Zach Banner narrowly edged out Chukwuma Okorafor for the starting right tackle job. Banner’s unfortunate knee injury in the opener, of course, left the job to Okorafor, which he still owns to this day.
Whoever wins the left guard job between Dotson and Green will be working with a new center in Mason Cole, a veteran free agent whom the Steelers signed in March. Second-year Dan Moore Jr. remains entrenched at left tackle.
The lack of solidity here has made it difficult for the left side of the offensive line to really gel, since the middle of the group keeps flipping back and forth. Cole is new to the team, while Moore is still young. The sooner they can make a decision, perhaps, the better, but this one may go down to the end of the preseason.