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Thread: Right Tackle Battle May Not Be Determined Until Right Before Regular Season

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    Right Tackle Battle May Not Be Determined Until Right Before Regular Season

    Right Tackle Battle May Not Be Determined Until Right Before Regular Season

    By Alex Kozora
    Posted on August 21, 2020

    Who will be the Pittsburgh Steelers right tackle? They’re not quite sure. And they’re not in a rush to find out.

    Offensive line coach Shaun Sarrett weighed in on the team’s biggest position battle, the vacant right tackle spot between Chukwuma Okorafor and Zach Banner. Sarrett said the battle is up in the air and a decision probably won’t come for a couple more weeks.

    “The evaluation has to be fast but I’m not in a hurry about it,” was Sarrett’s full quote when asked about the battle. “I’m going to let them compete all the way up until the week of practice. I’m not going to make that decision right now or be forced into it. They’re out there competing every day. They’re flopping positions, they’re playing big tight end, they’re playing the regular tackle spot. It’s something i know I still have time with.”

    Matt Feiler served as the Steelers’ right tackle a year ago but has kicked inside following Ramon Foster’s retirement. That leaves two young guys in Okorafor or Banner to replace him. Okorafor was the team’s third round pick in 2018. He’s made two starts at right tackle, including one against the Rams a year ago, but had an overall disappointing sophomore season. Some of that could be blamed on an injured shoulder that required surgery in the offseason.

    Banner has become a fan favorite for his kneeldown blocks and reporting eligible moments but he’s come a long way. A 4th round pick of the Colts in 2017, he nearly fell out of the league as his weight spiked. Now, he’s in terrific shape and has clilmbed the ladder from mid-camp signing two years ago to being in a battle to start.

    2020 means so much to both men. For Banner, he’s on a one-year deal, playing for long-term security either from Pittsburgh or someone else in the offseason. He won’t get that if he doesn’t start and play. For Okorafor, it’s his third year in the league and if the team hopes he can start long-term, especially with Alejandro Villanueva a free agent after the season, he has to instill that confidence this season.

    Truthfully, the Week 1 starter isn’t guaranteed to have strong job security. It’s unlikely the team would do something drastic like rotate players in-game, or even on a week-to-week plan but if the initial winner struggles, the Steelers likely won’t have any qualms about turning to the other guy.

    https://steelersdepot.com/2020/08/ri...egular-season/

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    Chuks Okorafor making most of chance to win starting RT job with Steelers

    By Tribune News Service

    When Chuks Okorafor reported for his third training camp with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he wanted to work on the positioning of his hands.

    The goal was to improve his technique on the offensive line. As a byproduct, his hands could help him grab the right tackle spot away from good friend Zach Banner.

    Okorafor and Banner are competing for the job vacated when the Steelers moved Matt Feiler to left guard. They have rotated snaps at the position for much of training camp.

    Okorafor said Monday in a video conference call he watched film of his play last year when he started against the Los Angeles Rams and didn’t like his hands placement.

    “I had my hands out,” he said. “I’m trying to have it tighter. With that, every day (practicing) with the ones or twos, it doesn’t matter. I have to go in there every day and work.”

    The Steelers will pick a winner without the benefit of preseason games, which isn’t an ideal situation for Okorafor or Banner to state a case.

    “There’s nothing better than games,” Okorafor said. “It’s obviously different not having games. Every day you have to have the mindset to fix something. If it’s your hands, feet or eyes or something. You have to have the mindset to fix something.”

    Although he missed practice Monday with a groin injury, Okorafor is healthier than the 2019 training camp when he was recovering from labrum surgery that was performed after his rookie season.

    “I don’t want to make an excuse for last year in terms of it being a problem, but there was little pain last year during camp,” Okorafor said. “It was tough, for sure, but now I feel great.”

    One drawback for Okorafor is he still hasn’t gotten to take snaps next to All-Pro right guard David DeCastro, who practiced in pads Monday for the first time after missing a week of workouts.

    Tomlin said how Banner and Okorafor adjust to DeCastro or replacement right guards won’t be much of a consideration in determining a starter.

    “They have to stand on their own two (feet),” he said. “DeCastro is a seasoned veteran and communicator, and there’s an understanding he brings. They don’t always have control over who they play beside. I’m more concerned about the quality of their play at the position.”

    Although the competition at right tackle is serious, Okorafor said it won’t impact his relationship with Banner, one of his closest friends on the team.

    “When we’re here, it’s all business,” Okorafor said. “You have to go in every day and do your job whether it’s me and Zach watching film or the whole team watching film. Nothing has changed, really.”

    https://www.pennlive.com/sports/2020...-steelers.html

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    I don't have a horse in this 2 horse race. However whoever isn't starting day 1 will get some playing time. We ran a bunch of 6 OL last year and I could see that again. Mostly short yardage and obviously goal line. The swing T will get some playing time. Along with special teams of course. Who know just because one guy starts week 1 doesn't mean that's it for the year. One good thing about both Banner n Ok is they can both flip if need be.

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    I read somewhere else that T.J. Watt has been wrecking both right tackles in practice so either Watt is just that dominant or Okafor and Banner are a couple of turnstiles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Man of Steel View Post
    I read somewhere else that T.J. Watt has been wrecking both right tackles in practice so either Watt is just that dominant or Okafor and Banner are a couple of turnstiles.
    Yea, read that too. Hope there were a few stalemates mixed in with those whippings or that could spell disaster when facing the likes of Garrett.

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    Watt 1 on 1 is a handful. Game situation he gets chipped all day long. That's why 48 needs to make an impact cause he ain't getting doubled. I believe we won't know about how this RT situation plays out until at least mid season.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Man of Steel View Post
    I read somewhere else that T.J. Watt has been wrecking both right tackles in practice so either Watt is just that dominant or Okafor and Banner are a couple of turnstiles.
    Good. Blade sharpens blade. Going up against Watt all the time can't help but make them better against everyone else in the league.
    From the 2010-2019 season, (A 9 year period that the majority of Cowher's players & coaches had left) Mike Tomlin has only won 3 playoff games. And two of those wins were against back up Quarterbacks.

    Dolphin fans in the 90’s who wanted to hold on to Don Shula for what he did in the playoffs in the 70’s...
    Are the same as Steeler fans (of 2020 ) holding on to Tomlin for what he did in 2008, with Cowher's players & coaches

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Maniac View Post
    Good. Blade sharpens blade. Going up against Watt all the time can't help but make them better against everyone else in the league.
    Or it could end badly. Which CB said he loved to be paired against AB for the challenge but ended up being cut?

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    I am flipping this...

    From what I have been hearing is that Banner and Chucks are the 2 best tackles in camp...

    Maybe it is not just a camp battle for RT...

    Connect the dots, even Decastro mentioned that this maybe AVs last year here.


    With 1 tackle signed in 2021, they need to either re-sign or extend one of the tackes Banner or Feiler. ( Yeah, if Feiler stays with us he is going back to RT have Dotson waiting).
    I am think AV might be a camp cut or trade, it saves us 5 Million ( if I read Sportec right ) to spend on the future tackle. (Money saved can roll over into 2021)

    They can't go into 2021 with desperation and glaring hole who plays tackle.

    NO WAY they have money to compete for FA tackle.
    Last edited by steeler_george; 08-27-2020 at 05:57 AM.
    “I’m so tired of Le’Veon," DeCastro told reporters (h/t ESPN's Jeremy Fowler ([url]https://twitter.com/JFowlerESPN/status/1038909446146203649[/url])) after Sunday's game. "I’m so tired of it. Let’s just worry about the guys in here. I know you guys have stories to write and what not. I love Le’Veon, but we gotta worry about the guys in here. They’re the only people that matter to me."



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorthCoast View Post
    Or it could end badly. Which CB said he loved to be paired against AB for the challenge but ended up being cut?
    Okay..I'll bite. Who?
    From the 2010-2019 season, (A 9 year period that the majority of Cowher's players & coaches had left) Mike Tomlin has only won 3 playoff games. And two of those wins were against back up Quarterbacks.

    Dolphin fans in the 90’s who wanted to hold on to Don Shula for what he did in the playoffs in the 70’s...
    Are the same as Steeler fans (of 2020 ) holding on to Tomlin for what he did in 2008, with Cowher's players & coaches

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