If an offensive lineman is being talked about on TV, it’s probably not for a good reason. Kevin Dotson’s name was heard far too many times yesterday. Flagged three times for penalties, Dotson’s mistakes hurt an already struggling Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense. Speaking to reporters Monday, Dotson reviewed his performance, as shared by The Trib’s Chris Adamski.
“I didn’t do it on purpose,” Dotson said with a smile when asked about the penalties. “I didn’t try to do it. I messed up. Had a bad day with penalties. Overall, I had a good game.”
Dotson may have played well otherwise but it’s hard to remove those penalties from the evaluation sheet. Dotson’s first penalty came on the Steelers’ first drive, flagged for a false start – at home, no less – that turned a 3rd and 6 into a less forgiving 3rd and 11. A quarter later, he was flagged for holding that turned 1st and 10 into 1st and 20. He completed the flag trifecta in the third quarter with a hold that negated a long gain to Diontae Johnson, penalized and allowing QB Kenny Pickett to be hit, who was put into concussion protocol after the play.
The three penalties equal the total against Dotson through the first five weeks and now easily make him the most-penalized Steeler, two more than left tackle Dan Moore Jr. Dotson has always had talent but struggled to find consistency and play to the level he’s capable at. In a crucial third year, he must even out his play to be a long-term option at guard.
While the penalties were poor, unfortunately, social media took things ten steps too far. Dotson tweeted Sunday he received death threats for his performance, a cowardly act for anyone to do. Dotson said he was doing his best to tune out all outside noise.
“If you can only see the negative, what’s the point of caring what you think? If you never say anything positive…why would I listen to you now?”
Dotson’s career has been a roller coaster with highs and lows, but it’s reflective of the state of the entire Steelers’ offensive line. He’s one of the few tenured offensive linemen on this team to have three different o-line coaches all three of his years in Pittsburgh: Shaun Sarrett, Adrian Klemm, and Pat Meyer. That doesn’t even consider his college coach his senior year, having to move to the NFL and adjust to what Sarrett wanted to do differently. Really, it’s four coaches in four years, all with their unique philosophies and styles. It’s no wonder Dotson has struggled to find his footing.
But for an offensive lineman, or any player in the NFL, there’s no time for excuses. Improving is the only thing that matters, and Dotson will look to avoid having his name said on primetime television next Sunday night.