(Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
The Steelers are almost at full strength on the offensive line, as the only projected starter who hasn't played in a preseason game yet is Zach Banner, who is still working his way back after suffering a season-ending ACL injury in Week 1 last year. And Kevin Dotson, who dealt with an ankle injury, should be back with the first-team unit when they play the Lions next Saturday night. Dotson got first-team reps at practice today.
“He did perform well in the game (against the Eagles), but I wouldn’t anoint him just yet,” Mike Tomlin said of Dotson after Saturday's practice.
There have been reports that the Steelers coaching staff wasn't happy with Dotson's conditioning level during OTAs and minicamp, so perhaps Tomlin's comments in regards to Dotson over the last week are a motivational tactic for the second-year guard.
Tomlin and Adrian Klemm are trying to create as much competition as they can for their young offensive lineman, and not just hand them starting positions. The same applies to rookie center Kendrick Green.
“Everything is up for grabs,” Klemm said. “Nothing is set in stone. I think KG has played himself into a nice position. He’s definitely in contention, if not the guy on opening day. Ultimately, I’ll have a say in that, but there are a number of people who will have their say in it.
“He’s been working really hard and working every single day. He’s getting more comfortable at the position. I just think he’s done a really nice job for coming in and having the type of pressure and expectations that we have for him.”
There have been positive reports on Green during training camp and the preseason, however, he had his welcome to the NFL moment on Thursday night when T.Y. McGill bull-rushed him into Mason Rudolph for a sack.
Rookie fourth-round pick Dan Moore has looked really impressive in the first two preseason games and is picking things up quickly. For the first time in training camp, Moore got reps at right tackle instead of on the left side during Saturday's practice.
“Dan is a really mature young man,” Klemm said. “He had 30-plus starts in college and played at a high level. First day at right tackle in camp. It’s challenging initially. As practice progressed he didn’t drop off. He’s stoic every day. He’s a student of the game. He made some mistakes early on, but he’s not an error repeater. He has a little ways to go, but I’m pleased with his progress so far.”
Tomlin also gave Moore praise for his progression.
“He doesn’t perform like a young guy,” Tomlin said. “He’s [played in] that SEC West and logged a bunch of starts. That experience is showing. We’re going to challenge him this week, let him play on the right side and look at his positional versatility.”
If Moore continues on his trajectory, it appears that the Steelers want to see him as their swing offensive tackle.