Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
It certainly looks like the Steelers have made their decision on a starting center for this Monday’s game in Cincinnati. According to multiple reports from Gerry Dulac of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Scott Brown of ESPN.com, it will be Fernando Velasco, not Kelvin Beachum, who will start in Maurkice Pouncey’s place at center for the Steelers in Week 2 at Paul Brown Stadium.
The move itself will give Pittsburgh’s offensive line much more flexibility, particularly because Kelvin Beachum can be used in the “tight end” role he was supposed to assume before he was pressed into duty at center last weekend.
What probably helped Velasco nail down the starting job was his knowledge of Pittsburgh’s new zone-blocking system. According to a recent report by Brown, the former Tennessee Titan stated the following about what he has experienced this week at practice:
"A lot of the schemes here are the same ones we ran in Tennessee, … I’m just trying to get the terminology down."
Pittsburgh will need an impressive performance from their new center though, because Geno Atkins and Domata Peko will be waiting for him and the rest of the team’s interior offensive linemen in Cincinnati. If in fact Velasco can play and play effectively versus the Bengals, then the Steelers’ brass should consider themselves extremely lucky to have signed such a reliable stop-gap at the center position as late as they did.
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