Due to the recent stabbing incident, the Steelers will be without Mike Adams for their final OTA session (June 3-6) and their mandatory minicamp the following week (June 11-13).
Although the former Buckeye is scheduled to return for training camp, losing him during an important “gelling period” definitely hurts Pittsburgh’s offensive line as they try to build continuity as a unit.
While the Steelers have turned to Max Starks in years past for their offensive tackle-needs, “Old Reliable” is now a member of the Chargers. With Starks gone, backups Guy Whimper and Kelvin Beachum will likely be forced to pick up the slack at right tackle.
At least to me, I believe that the team should give Beachum the lion’s-share of reps with the first-team while Adams is sidelined. While providing the former S.M.U. Mustang with second-team reps at center is extremely important for depth-purposes, Whimper has done little over his professional career to prove that he is more than a turnstile as an offensive tackle.
The 30 year-old was cut earlier this year by Jacksonville after two and a half miserable seasons with the team. In 2011, Whimper allowed 14.0 sacks in 15 total games, and he was benched for much of the 2012 campaign (six starts) due to poor play as well.
To his credit, Beachum played well at times at right tackle during his rookie campaign (five starts) after Adams went down with an ankle injury, and there is definitely no harm in sticking him there until Adams is ready to play. If the Steelers want to turn Kelvin into a “jack-of-all-trades guy” for their offensive line, then they might as well continue the process by having him fill in for their injured starter.
In addition to Whimper and Beachum, Pittsburgh untested and rookie backups like Joe Long, Mike Farrell or Mike Golic, Jr. could see more snaps over the following weeks as well. As I alluded to before though, this group is largely inexperienced as both Farrell and Golic, Jr. are 2013 UDFA’s, and Long spent the end of the 2012 campaign on Pittsburgh’s practice squad.
I truly hate to be a “Negative Nancy,” but I really wish the Steelers had the reliable Starks to plug in once again for security purposes. For now though, let’s hope that whomever the Steelers insert in Adams’ place can hold down the fort until he comes back healthy.
Most of all though, let’s be thankful that Adams not only survived his ordeal, but that he came away from it in one piece and can resume his career once he fully recovers.
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