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‘No Real Divas In The Room’: Camaraderie In Meetings Translating To Field For OL, Dotson Says

For as much talk as there has been about the instability of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive line, you might not know that they did carry over three starters in 2022 from the previous season. And the two new starters, of course, were upgrades in free agency.

Granted, they also brought in a new position coach in Pat Meyer, whose task it was not only to build a cohesive unit but to do so while getting them all, coming from three different schools of blocking, to buy into his method. Left guard Kevin Dotson believes one of the reasons the group was able to do that as successfully as they had was because of simply how well they got along together.

“I think just the group of guys that we have, the different type of personalities and stuff, all melded pretty good”, he told Dale Lolley for the team’s website when he was asked about how the line built a camaraderie relatively quickly.

“I think that’s really what it was, is everybody’s personality kind of matches with everybody else’s personality”, he elaborated. “There’s no real divas, there’s nobody who’s thinks they’re better than everybody else. We’re all just trying to come together”.

Certainly, nobody really came into this season with much to brag about. Some of them had nice new contracts—right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor got a three-year deal worth about $10 million per season, and James Daniels signed the largest outside unrestricted free agent contract in team history.

But none of those coming in as starters or potential starters had really any laurels to rest on. No Pro Bowls. No team successes. Daniels, for example, came over from the Chicago Bears. His team made it to the playoffs twice (he was injured for one), and they lost both, but that’s as close as any had come.

Okorafor, a former third-round pick of the Steelers, only landed into the starting job by default a few years ago after initially losing a battle with Zach Banner before the latter got injured. Dotson himself had to earn his job back this year.

The free agents—Daniels and center Mason Cole—largely came in untested, but that really speaks to the lack of alternatives that they had. Daniels was filling the shoes of one-year stopgap Trai Turner, who was only signed in 2021 after David DeCastro’s injury waiver.

Of course, personalities and senses of superiority or entitlement aren’t rooted solely in accomplishments. The group as a whole does come across as a generally humble assemblage of people who are happy to share knowledge and accolades.

What helped just as much, though, if not more, is the fact that they all stayed healthy. Of the five starters—including Dan Moore Jr. at left tackle—only Cole missed more than one snap, and he missed 46.

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