I think that it’s safe to say that the 2013 regular season hasn’t transpired in the fashion that Mike Adams envisioned before it began. After a solid stretch as Pittsburgh’s right tackle during his rookie campaign, much was expected of the former second round pick this fall. Adams was all but handed the starting left tackle job during the offseason when the team elected to let veteran Max Starks to explore the market as a free agent, and the Steelers were banking on the hope that the youngster would handle the promotion well.
Unfortunately for Adams, he played miserably during Pittsburgh’s 0-4 start to the regular season. Not only was the former Ohio State Buckeye tooled on speed rushes on a consistent basis, his trouble anchoring at the point of attack was a cause for concern as well. After he was abused by Jared Allen in Pittsburgh’s loss in London, the Steelers’ brass traded for Levi Brown from Arizona and demoted Adams behind Kelvin Beachum.
While Brown was injured before he could even take a regular season snap with Pittsburgh, Beachum has started the last five games for the Steelers at left tackle. During that span, Adams chipped in at left tackle when injuries struck in Oakland and has seen his most extensive work as an extra tackle in Pittsburgh’s “heavy” formations.
To his credit, Adams has taken his demotion in stride. In addition, he is not only hungry for more opportunities to play and inspired to work for extended playing time, the offensive tackle is trying to make the most of the opportunities he has received since he was removed from Pittsburgh’s first-team offense according to Mike Prisuta of Steelers.com:
They tell me to go out there and I go gladly, … I’m just glad to have a chance to be on the field. Any way to get on the field and help these guys and play with my guys is what I am looking for. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to get back out there the way I want to.
Adams saw extensive work yesterday during Pittsburgh’s 23-10 win over Buffalo, especially since the team ran the ball on 33 of their 67 plays. The former Buckeye did a solid job run-blocking, and pancaked Nigel Bradham on Le’Veon Bell’s four yard touchdown run in the third quarter. With performances like the one from the Steelers’ previous game, it could only be a matter of time before Adams sees more spot-duty and even regains a starting job.
I’ve always believed that Adams was best suited to play right tackle, and that a massive run-blocker of his caliber would flourish in a position in which he would not be left “on an island” as much in pass-protection. He showed flashes last season on the right side when he subbed for an injured Marcus Gilbert and was doing fine until he went down with a season-ending ankle injury against the Browns late in the year.
While his days as a left tackle might be over from the way he performed early this season, Pittsburgh should at least give Adams a shot to unseat Marcus Gilbert during the offseason at the right tackle position. I for one would be intrigued to see how the two young tackles perform when they are pitted against each other, and the victor of the competition would likely benefit from the extra heat put on them for a potential roster spot in the future.
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