Should there be concerns about Kendrick Green as the Steelers' starting center?
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Steelers' rookie center Kendrick Green has worked with the ones for most of training camp and was the starting center in the first two preseason games. Unless something drastically changes, it's expected that Green will be the starting center when the Steelers play the Bills in Week 1 on the road.
While there have been positive reports about Green in training camp, one negative associated with Green is that he struggles with bigger defensive lineman who are stronger than him. This was displayed last Thursday night when Eagles' defensive tackle T.Y. McGill bull-rushed Green into Mason Rudolph for a sack.
And then at practice this week it was reported that nose tackle Tyson Alualu put Green on roller skates during 1-on-1 drills. Green is smaller when it comes to offensive line standards -- 6-foot-2, 305 pounds -- so it was expected that he would struggle against bigger and stronger defensive linemen in the NFL. He also had just four starts at center at Illinois, so that's another concern. How quickly will Green adapt to a fairly new position?
Ben Roethlisberger said yesterday that he's "very comfortable" and "confident" with Green as the starting center. And Cameron Heyward also gave some praise to the rookie, along with attributing his struggles against Alualu as just iron sharpening iron.
“He’s going against Tyson every day, and Tyson’s going to beat you up if you're not careful,” Heyward said. “He’s getting the best work he can. Hopefully, that will prepare him for the season. He’s asked a lot of questions, and we’ll take it from there. He’s got to take his lumps throughout the season. That happens. But how do you continue to bounce back and not hit that rookie wall?”
Green has excelled in other areas, and at this stage, I wouldn't be overly concerned as it's still early, and he's just a rookie. However, how he handles rushers with a lot of strength and mass will be something to keep an eye on this season.