The Steelers are at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, informally known as the South Side facility, now into the regular season. It’s where they otherwise train all year round, and the facility that Burt Lauten insists everybody refers to by its full name.
There are still unsettled questions that need answering, even deep into the regular season. They entered the process with questions in the starting lineup, in scheme, and elsewhere, but new problems always arise that need to be resolved.
Even questions about who’s starting and when may not have satisfactory answers in their finality, as midseason changes are certainly quite possible, for some positions more than others. We’re also feeling out how the new coordinator posts—or posts in new contexts—end up playing out.
There’s never any shortage of questions when it comes to football, and we’ll be discussing them here on a daily basis for the community to “talk amongst yourselves”, as Linda Richman might say on Coffee Talk.
Question: Could Kendrick Green be the player released to make room for Calvin Austin III?
The thought just occurred to me after Sunday’s game in which second-year guard Kendrick Green was a healthy scratch. Will he be the player who gets cut when the Steelers activate rookie wide receiver Calvin Austin III from the practice squad?
Now, Green has been inactive for every game this season despite being healthy, but with numerous players inactive due to injury, the team dressed several players that they ordinarily wouldn’t just because they needed bodies to dress.
The final decision came down to either Green as the ninth lineman or rookie college free agent linebacker Mark Robinson, who, like Green, had been a healthy scratch all year. The helmet went to the inside linebacker, even though his position group was entirely healthy.
So has Green’s, of course, and, well, eight linemen is enough on gamedays. But eight linemen on the 53-man roster in general is also enough. There are plenty of times that the Steelers and many other teams in the league have only carried eight. You can always carry extra on the practice squad.
The team already has two linemen on the practice squad in John Leglue, who is far more versatile than Green, and William Dunkle, who also has flexibility. And Green isn’t likely to be claimed, so there’s always a chance he could be re-signed to the practice squad.
Even though wide receiver Gunner Olszewski lost the return job (and Steven Sims had a good punt return and nearly housed a kick return, so he’s not about to lose that), he still managed to contribute on special teams when he dressed on Sunday, playing as a gunner (fittingly) and not doing a bad job of it.
Where does Green fit in? He’s obviously not a direct backup. J.C. Hassenauer is the backup center. Maybe even the primary backup guard, too. If not him, then it’s Jesse Davis. And they still have Leglue on the practice squad. So the question is, would they rather have seven wide receivers who would all contribute if they dressed or a ninth lineman who lacks even the position flexibility to get a helmet?