After the final day of practice, Maurkice Pouncey has been listed as ‘out’ for this Monday night’s contest against the ‘Niners. That means Doug Legursky will start at center. With Legursky at center, what does that mean for the rest of the offensive line?
It used to be a given that Chris Kemoeatu was a starter for the offensive line. But, sloppy technique and a heap of penalties higher than the laundry in my closet has kept him backing up in the guard position for a few weeks. With Legursky at center, the Steelers will need to fill his position at guard. Starks and Gilbert (listed as good to go for Monday) hold the tackles and Ramon Foster has the right side next to Legursky. The options for the Steelers are Kemoeatu or Essex (or even Scott, but doubt that). Kemoeatu is supposedly the next best ‘skilled’ player on the line. But with all the stupid penalties he’s been accruing this season, Essex might be the better option. 5 yard penalty that kills a drive (Kemo) or a 5-10 yard sack that kills your quarterback (Essex)? Neither is favorable, but until Kemo learns that you can’t hold every damn down, then Essex needs to step in and step up. The line is thin, and we will more than likely see an injury somewhere during the game – so we’ll probably see Kemo at some point even if he doesn’t start.
One other injury to note for Monday (other than the usual list of suspects) – Rookie CB and special teams player Curtis Brown is listed as questionable. He has 14 tackles on the year – most of them special teams. Over the last five games his jersey can be seen around the return man constantly. He has good speed and is one of the more physical corners (certainly the most physical rookie). He’s had 8 tackles over those last five games – most of them he’s the first one to the ball. Did you see that spin move he had against two blockers in the game against Cincy?! His lack of presence on the field could have a big impact with return man Ted Ginn ready for a big run back – he has one kick return AND punt return for a TD this season so far.