(Photo via Kevin Dotson's Instagram)
The Steelers offensive line has been decimated due to injuries. Zach Banner is out for the season with an ACL tear, David DeCastro has not practiced since training camp and Stefen Wisniewsk is out at least 3 weeks on the injured reserve. Tomlin made the decision to start Kevin Dotson and Chuks Okorafor in place of the injured. The rookie played well in his first NFL start. Tomlin did not comment on his play against the Broncos because he wanted to look at the tape before making any judgment. Dotson says he did not get jitters in his first start because he has been playing football for too long. He gets nervous in real life situations more than in football.
"I don't get too nervous about paying in games, playing football," said Dotson. "I get more nervous about real life situations. I have done football long enough to know what could possibly happen and not get nervous."
Maurkice Pouncey is the leader of the offensive line. Dotson followed his lead and answered any questions he had. The whole offensive line took him under their wing and guided him to success.
"Maurkice, he is the leader. I follow him whatever he says, whatever he wants me to do," said Dotson. "Chuks was a big help. The entire offensive line, we talked about making me feel comfortable in the game."
Dotson did not give up one sack in his first NFL start as a Rookie. He protected the pass and even stopped the run. Kevin thought he did better in his pass protection by no giving up any sacks during the game.
"I think I did better in my pass protection," said Dotson. "I don't think I did too bad in either, but I think I did better in my pass not giving up any sacks against a quality opponent."
"People who know football know that I am more versatile than just being a run blocker. The people who know the position, know I am not just a run blocker. It was good to be able to prove it to other people.
Kevin Dotson is going to watch film today to see how he really did and look to see if there are any areas he can fix. The veterans on the team have really helped Dotson prepare for his first NFL start more than anything.
"If you would have asked me before the season started, I would have said I could imagine the game going crazy and it being hard blocking these people," said Dotson. "I have been taking practice reps with Tuitt and Heyward and Watt these weeks, so getting in the game I have confidence going against anybody defensive line wise.”
"I am easily my hardest critic. Even going from high school to college, I thought if I am not actively pancaking somebody, I am not doing a good job. I have to realize that doesn't come too often. I feel like I did good, but I can do way better."
It is still hard to imagine that Kevin Dotson was not invited to the NFL Draft or the Senior Bowl. He is a very talented football player and the Steelers knew it when they drafted him. He played four years at the collegiate level with Louisiana. Dotson has always dreamed about blocking for Ben Roethlisberger and finally got his chance on Sunday against the Broncos. The future is bright for Kevin Dotson with the Steelers who desperately need help on the offensive line to protect their Franchise Quarterback.