Three regular starters in the Steelers offensive line likely won’t return in 2013 and all three players who took turns starting at right tackle should start at three separate positions next season.
There is a caveat to all of this, of course – provided they all stay healthy.
Look for Max Starks and Ramon Foster to leave in free agency and Willie Colon to be released. Colon’s knee injury that placed him on injured reserve for the third straight season was the last straw. The Steelers want to move on and they believe they have the right man to replace him.
The Steelers drafted Kelvin Beachum – their fourth and final pick in the seventh round last year – to play guard even though he started all 52 games in his four years at SMU. When Marcus Gilbert and Mike Adams were shelved by injuries after starting at right tackle, the Steelers turned to Beachum. He started there the final five games and did a nice job. It helped convince them he can start at guard – coincidentally, moving from and to the same position that Colon did.
They will turn the right tackle job over to Adams. Gilbert will start at left tackle. There was a time many assumed Adams would play left tackle, but he is a more natural right tackle, a better run blocker, and Gilbert’s more natural position is left tackle.
David DeCastro will take over at right guard as he did at the end of the season when he became healthy from his preseason knee injury. And, of course, there is three-time Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey.
Their backups are to be determined because at the moment only John Malecki is under contract from their season-ending roster.
That, ladies and gents, is your 2013 Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line. Check back for medical updates.
Onto some other stuff:
--- Bill Cowher says ultimately he would like to coach again. The problem for him, whenever that is, will be the same thing that’s kept him out of coaching since he quit the Steelers after the 2006 season. He wants the perfect situation with a good owner, management he can work with and a good quarterback. That trifecta does not always produce an opening. It did for Cowher when he first came to Pittsburgh after Chuck Noll retired because quarterback Neil O’Donnell was ready to play, but his relationship with personnel boss Tom Donahoe deteriorated quickly. Having a good owner is in itself difficult to find, never mind the other two.
--- Who led the Steelers in tackles in 2013? It depends on who you believe. Tackles are still considered an unofficial stat in the NFL so it may not really matter, but it might be when it comes to making Pro Bowls, etc.
The Steelers coaches keep their players’ defensive statistics – tackles, assists, quarterback pressures, etc. – and those are the ones the team uses in all of its press releases, etc. They have Lawrence Timmons in the lead with 134 tackles, Larry Foote second with 114. However, the NFL controls the stats on all of its teams’ web sites because of a computer program. The NFL counts the tackles registered by statisticians hired by the home team in each press box. The ability of those statisticians to recognize a tackle can vary widely from city to city. Anyway, those official unofficial stats have Foote leading the Steelers in tackles with 113 to 106 for Timmons – and those are the numbers that appear under the team’s stats on Steelers.com because they have no choice.
So if you see someone say or write that Lawrence Timmons led the Steelers by a wide margin in tackles, it is correct. And if someone says Foote led them by a wide margin, that too is correct.
--- Onto your questions:
--- YOU: Crazy thought & know the answer, but... Any chance Steelers move Pouncey to guard and draft a center?
ME: No, but it’s not THAT crazy. They’d have to have had another center already in place.
--- YOU: Why is free agency delayed these days. I remember in the nineties it was around Valentine's Day. Now its a month later?
ME: With the Super Bowl now regularly played in February, and the combine right after that, along with the new CBA pushing back workouts, there really is no need to have it earlier. It’s March 12, by the way.
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