Oct 21, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (8) takes a snap from center Fernando Velasco (61) during the game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Titans beat the Bills 35-34. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
It only took one week for free agent center Fernando Velasco to find a new home after he was released by the Tennessee Titans during their final round of cuts. In a stroke of good luck for Velasco, Maurkice Pouncey sustained a knee injury in the first quarter of the Steelers’ opening game. That in turn forced Pittsburgh’s front office to looks for help to shore up the interior of their offensive line, and Velasco was inked to a deal earlier this week.
Although “Swiss army knife” Kelvin Beachum appears primed to start at center in the Steelers’ Monday night game in Cincinnati, Velasco is trying his hardest to get “up to speed” and be available as soon as possible for his new team according to a recent article by Ed Bouchette of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
As Bouchette mentioned in the article, Velasco’s emergence would help Beachum fill in wherever the Steelers need him along their offensive line. Originally slated to chip in at tight end, Beachum could also help fill in at offensive tackle if Marcus Gilbert or Mike Adams are unable to contain Cincinnati’s four-deep rotation of defensive ends.
Remember readers, Beachum actually started five games at offensive tackle as a rookie. So if any problems exist at that position moving forward, he might have to shift over from the center position out to the edge. I know I would rather have the former S.M.U. Mustang in the game at tackle instead of the inconsistent Guy Whimper.
The sooner Velasco is ready to play, the more flexible that Pittsburgh’s offensive line can inevitably be moving forward. While I believe that Beachum will start this Monday night, Velasco could make this positional battle much more intriguing as the season progresses.
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