It’s ‘Nut Up’ or ‘Shut Up’ Time For Mike Adams


Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

When the Steelers’ brass let Max Starks walk as a free agent this past spring and kept Marcus Gilbert over at right tackle, they essentially gift-wrapped the starting left tackle spot for Mike Adams.  Although it was a huge gamble, Pittsburgh’s coaching staff had faith that the former Ohio State Buckeye would be able to man Ben Roethlisberger’s blind-side.

Unfortunately for Roethlisberger and the team’s 2012 “Rookie of the Year,” Adams played so poorly during his first four games that he forced the coaching staff to bench him.  While the window might have been small, the fact that the second-year player allowed three sacks and constant pressure in Pittsburgh’s last game against Minnesota illustrated that he was entirely over his head on the left side.

The Steelers’ brass were so desperate that they had to enlist the services of Levi Brown, someone the Arizona Cardinals are paying close to $4 million just to rid themselves of at the moment!

Now demoted behind “Swiss army knife” Kelvin Beachum and the newly acquired Brown, the young tackle’s career is now at a critical juncture.

He can either win his job back at left tackle or somewhere else along the offensive line by outperforming Beachum, Brown, Marcus Gilbert, and a likely 2014 draft pick.  Or he can simply “ride the pine” and watch as others on the depth chart leapfrog ahead of him and leave him in the dust.

Adams appears motivated to improve upon certain areas, and he recently stated the following regarding his demotion and future with the team according to Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

"He [Mike Tomlin] just wants more consistency, … That was the main point, technique-wise. I’ll just keep working on that. I definitely think so [regarding his future with the team] or I wouldn’t be here right now, I think I just need to work on my consistency in order to be able to contribute more to the team."

Of course, saying he will improve and actually doing so are entirely two different things. I do however believe that Adams received the message that his play this fall has been atrocious and he must realize the potential he has.

Whether that will be back on the blind-side or at right tackle in the future for Adams, I am not sure.  I just hope that the second-year tackle knows that it is “nut up” or “shut up” time and does his best to prove to the coaching staff that he is once again worthy of extended playing time.

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