After his disastrous four-game stint as Pittsburgh’s left tackle, Mike Adams could have easily mailed things in when his coaching staff benched him. Heck, the former second round pick could have stood pat and relaxed after the front office acquired veteran Levi Brown from Arizona.
Adams however did not quit on the 2013 regular season, and the former Ohio State Buckeye has fought back and found a niche role in Pittsburgh’s offense since his demotion. In addition to filling in at left tackle due to injuries during the Oakland game, Adams has emerged as a valuable piece of Pittsburgh’s heavy-formations as a tight end.
The former starter has performed well in that role, especially since it has helped to highlight his terrific run-blocking skills. In fact, as I have stated multiple times before, I one hope that the coaching staff will allow the team’s 2012 Rookie of the Year to compete for a starting job at the right tackle position during the upcoming offseason. Adams did a solid job at that spot during his rookie campaign, and Pittsburgh could stand to bring some competition Marcus Gilbert’s way.
Thoughts on where Adams fits aside, many of the second-year tackle’s teammates have noticed how hard he has worked to get onto the field and contribute in as many ways as possible. One such teammate is center Fernando Velasco, and the former Tennessee Titan expressed how proud he was of Adams in a recent article by Teresa Varley of Steelers.com:
I am real proud of Mike, … After losing your starting job you can feel sorry for yourself, lie down and throw the towel in. But he is a team guy and that showed the last few weeks. Whatever he can do for the team is what he has done, going in and being the extra blocker, just doing a great job with it.
He still wants to get his job back, but right now his role is to be the extra tight end and he is doing an excellent job of it. It’s good to have him. It’s an advantage to us to have six offensive linemen on the field.
Velasco probably knows a thing or two about being benched, especially since he lost his starting job with the Titans during the preseason before he was signed by the Steelers. In addition, he probably knows how hard it is to lose a starting job, what it takes in terms of hard work to win it back, and can appreciate how much Adams is pushing himself to see playing time once again in Pittsburgh.
It is definitely a good sign to see Adams’ teammates recognizing his selfless play, and I am sure that Pittsburgh’s coaching staff are seeing the same things as well. When the former Buckeye will eventually receive his next chance to start is still a question. Yet if he continues to put in effort, succeed in his new role, and illustrate signs of competence, his next opportunity could come sooner than we think.
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