View Full Version : Steelers’ Left Tackle Needs Aren’t Filled Yet

08-08-2011, 04:13 PM
Steelers’ Left Tackle Needs Aren’t Filled Yet

Posted on August 8, 2011 by JJ

Max Starks and Flozell Adams have been sent packing and Jonathan Scott is the Steelers’ new starting left tackle.

It’s understandable that a lot of fans are nervous about the idea of Scott protecting Ben Roethlisberger’s blind side for 16 games, but a pretty good argument can be made that Scott starting isn’t the biggest concern.

The bigger concern is the team’s lack of depth behind Scott. Last year, Pittsburgh didn’t have a whole lot of very good linemen, but they had a whole lot of linemen who were similarly talented. So if something happened to Trai Essex, Max Starks or Chris Kemoeatu, there was someone near their equal (Ramon Foster, Jonathan Scott and Doug Legursky) waiting to step in.

Unless Pittsburgh adds another offensive tackle from the free agent market, it’s hard to say the same thing is true right now. Pittsburgh’s depth at guard and center still seems pretty solid — Doug Legursky has shown he can step in at either position and Keith Williams is looking good in training camp. Pittsburgh will also get a chance to see what swing guard/tackle Chris Scott can do in his second year with the team.

But at tackle, Pittsburgh is in a much scarier situation. For whatever concerns you may have about Jonathan Scott’s ability to handle the left tackle job, we can all agree that Pittsburgh did manage to make it to the Super Bowl with him there. And as the season went along, he generally played better. In a best case scenario, Scott could turn into an average left tackle this year. In a more realistic scenario, he’ll be a below average left tackle, but not a disaster, which is a description that could be used for a lot of Steelers linemen in recent years.

But if something happens to Scott? Well then cue up the warning sirens. Right now there are two options: Tony Hills or Marcus Gilbert.

At this point it’s not fair to call Hills a project at left tackle. This preseason is truly his last chance to show he can handle the job — after all, he’s a free agent at the end of the season. Hills saved his roster spot with an excellent preseason last year, but as soon as the regular season started, he again looked out of his league. After all, there is a big difference between doing a solid job against another team’s third-string defensive ends (who Hills faced in the preseason) and their starters (which you face in the regular season). Hills has the size and agility to be a left tackle, whether he has the strength and technique? There’s a big reason to be skeptical.

Depending on Gilbert may be just as nerve-racking. While he was a second-round pick this year, many scouts saw him more as a right tackle than a left tackle. And the lack of offseason training activities, plus Gilbert’s hamstring troubles mean that he’s already way behind. Throw in the fact that left tackle is a very difficult position to play as a rookie (no Steelers’ rookie has been a regular starter at left tackle since before Chuck Noll was coaching) and it doesn’t seem to be a great idea to count on Gilbert this year.

So what can the Steelers do? Well, Max Starks’ weight issues could serve Pittsburgh well. If he remains unsigned, there’s always the chance that he could be re-signed in case of a catastrophic injury to Jonathan Scott (much like what happened to Starks last year). But Pittsburgh seems more likely to bring back Flozell Adams and possibly move Willie Colon inside to guard. If they did that, Pittsburgh’s depth at guard would reach new levels (with two backups who have started games as well as a promising rookie). But it wouldn’t really fix the left tackle trouble. In that case, if something happened to Scott, the Steelers would have to at least consider moving Flozell Adams to left tackle while Colon moved back to right tackle.

But Adams is already a year away from a poor year at left tackle. He would likely be better than anyone else currently on the roster, but he’s not exactly a great option.

So while many of you may be worrying about Jonathan Scott’s play at left tackle, I’m more worried about him getting hurt.

http://www.steelerslounge.com/2011/08/s ... le-filled/ (http://www.steelerslounge.com/2011/08/steelers-left-tackle-filled/)

08-08-2011, 06:18 PM
Langston Walker, Mark Tauscher, Nick Kaczur or even Leonard Davis could be possible options at OT for the Steelers, along with the return of Starks or Adams.

Personally- would like Kaczur brought in, kick the tyres, see if he can help the team out- at the expense of Hills- must be an improvement at this point, right?

In fact- try them all out...see if there is anything there that can benefit the team.

08-09-2011, 12:41 AM
I know I may be lambasted for this but I wouldn't mind seeing the Steelers bring in Gaither. He was solid his first couple of years in B-more and he could give the team some inside info on the Rats. I'm sure he would be more than fired up to face them as well. The kid has gone through some issues but there is still talent there, and man.....he's got the size for sure!!!

08-09-2011, 11:22 AM
I have to agree with the article. I never thought Scott was that bad as a left tackle but, we didn't really have an all pro to compare him with. The new offensive line coach must have seen something in him when he brought him to Pittsburgh. I guess you can compare that with Tomlin and Mayhan too.
I'll trust or O-line coaches abilities to read o-line men than tomlin to do the same.
Kemo is the guy I worry about because he seems so hit and miss with his play. Great guy for mowing over the defense but he sure can screw things up when it comes to protecting Ben.
I don't know when things will change but, it sure seems like the offensive line will always be the troubled part of our Steeler teams.

08-09-2011, 11:45 AM
Like everyone else, I hope this need gets filled in some reasonable way. But... I have a stupid question. Remember when Faneca filled in pretty well at LT that one year? Does Pouncey have that potential? Did Pouncey play anything but Center in college? He seems quite athletic and light on his feet.

08-10-2011, 08:47 PM
Scott working to shake journeyman label

By F. Dale Lolley, Staff writer dlolley@observer-reporter.com


LATROBE - The grimace on Jonathan Scott's face, as he sat by the practice fields at Saint Vincent College with ice on his sore ankle, said it all. He was hurting.

But you'd probably have a better chance of getting Scott to give you the keys to his house than you would getting him off the football field.

Now with his third NFL team in only six NFL seasons, Scott fits the definition of journeyman.

But the 28-year-old would like nothing more than to shake that tag and stick as the Steelers' starting left tackle.

The Steelers gave Scott a great opportunity to do that when they re-signed him prior to the start of training camp and released veteran tackles Max Starks and Flozell Adams in a pair of salary cap-related moves.

Scott knows a little something about being released. He was cut by the Detroit Lions, who had selected him in the fifth round of the 2006 draft, prior to the start of the 2008 season.

"I wish Max and Flo the best," Scott said. "They've helped me tremendously to get to where I am now. I can't go forward without paying homage to them.

"I just know what my role is. That's one of the reasons why they just re-signed me."

Scott's role last season changed dramatically as the season wore on.

Signed by the Steelers in the offseason after two years in Buffalo, Scott was brought in to add depth at tackle. But Willie Colon went down with an Achilles' tendon injury prior to the start of training camp, Scott lined up at right tackle before the Steelers signed Adams.

Then, after making a spot start at left tackle in place of Starks at Tennessee Sept. 19, Scott was thrust into a starting role for the final eight games of the regular season when Starks went on injured reserve with a neck problem.

Scott relished the chance to play every game.

"You see your mistakes, and you correct them and get better," said Scott, who started a career-high 12 games, including the playoffs. "That's the purpose of practice. That's the purpose of coaching. That's being a professional, getting better. If you're not getting better, you're getting worse."

After signing new contracts with the Steelers, Scott and Colon were unable to practice during the first week of training camp because of NFL lockout rules. Combine that with left guard Chris Kemoeatu being on the Physically Unable to Perform List with a sore knee, and injuries suffered over the weekend by Scott, guard Ramon Foster and center Maurkice Pouncey, and the Steelers have yet to put their starting offensive line on the field.

Coach Mike Tomlin isn't panicking, however, with the Steelers preparing for their first preseason game Friday at Washington.

"I'm not concerned about it, based on where we would normally be this time of year," Tomlin said. "I'm concerned about it relative to the people we compete against. We're all faced with the same obstacles, and that makes it fair."

Playing in that preseason game is important to Scott - so important he shook off an ankle injury suffered Saturday that forced him off the field on a cart.

He went through a partial practice Monday before heading to the tent for ice, then had full participation Tuesday.

"I'm a football player. I can go on anything," Scott said. "I definitely want to play. The last time I played a game was in February. You have a missing spot in your heart for football when you haven't played in a while. When you get out there, you want to stay out there."

Odds and end zones

Foster (concussion) did not practice Tuesday. He might return today. Chris Scott worked with the first-team offense in Foster's place. ... Wide receiver Mike Wallace (groin) did not practice. ... Tight end Weslye Saunders and linebacker Jason Worilds both left practice Tuesday with groin injuries. ... Free agent tight end Reggie Kelly, who played in 2010 with Cincinnati, visited the Steelers Tueday. ... The Steelers will practice today at 2:55 p.m. It is open to the public.


08-14-2011, 02:13 PM
Jonathan Scott can't let Big Ben get clocked

By Sam Farmer
August 13, 2011


Tackle Jonathan Scott (79), formerly with the Buffalo Bills, has the tough task of protecting the blind side of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

As the starting left tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jonathan Scott can say he has $102 million in his back pocket.

A few yards behind his back pocket, that is.

That's where Ben Roethlisberger drops back to pass, and Scott — who's on his third franchise in six seasons — is the blind-side protector for that $102-million quarterback.

Scott is one of several no-name players around the NFL who are stepping into high-pressure jobs.

Start with Scott. He survived a massive cost-cutting purge by the Steelers, who started camp $10 million over the cap and needed to trim the fat. They restructured a slew of contracts, and got rid of some big-name players, among them tackles Max Starks and Flozell Adams.

Scott signed a one-year deal and stuck around, giving him a touch of stability in a career that bounced him from Detroit to Buffalo to Pittsburgh.

It's not like he's coming in cold. First of all, he played under Steelers offensive line coach Sean Kugler with the Lions and Bills. And Scott started nine games for the Steelers last season, logging time at both tackle spots. He started on the left side in the Super Bowl, and, despite his share of rough patches last season, was generally on an upward trajectory.

Kevin Colbert, Pittsburgh's top personnel man, said Scott gained a lot of confidence last season, "But he has to prove that he can go 16 games and be an efficient starter. Whether he will or not, we won't know until 16 games."

A good barometer of how Scott is doing will be Roethlisberger. If the quarterback is upright, that's a good thing. If he's corkscrewed into the turf, well …

http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-far ... 963.column (http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-farmer-nfl-20110814,0,5551963.column)