Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
Although the Steelers acquired Levi Brown to shore up their messy situation at left tackle last week, Brown is not necessarily going to receive the starting nod for Pittsburgh’s game next Sunday against the New York Jets.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger alluded to this recently in an article by Ray Fittipaldo and Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
"It depends on how much work [Brown] wants to put in [to earn the starting nod]. How much does he want to be here? Is he going to be here all weekend? Does he want to put the time and effort into be [sic] that guy? Who knows if he is that guy? Is it [Kelvin] Beachum or Mike [Adams]? We don’t know. I guess it will be a matter if he can learn the offense when he gets here."
Brown, who will not be able to practice with his new team until tomorrow due to league rules, must pick up the offense quickly and hold off the team’s hungry “Swiss army knife,” Kelvin Beachum.
Remember readers, before this trade was even made it was Beachum who was taking the first-team reps in practice last week over Mike Adams. With that and Roethlisberger’s comments in mind, the starting position at left tackle could be far from settled.
Of course, I honestly do not care which one of the two steps up and starts on the blind-side next Sunday. I would just like one or both of those players to step up and provide the team with some sort of competent solution at the left tackle position over Pittsburgh’s final 12 regular season contests.
Personally however, I would rather see Brown take hold of the starting job on the blind-side for two important reasons: his skills as a run-blocker and the fact that Beachum would be able to step in at a moment’s notice elsewhere in case of an injury.
Remember readers, when Maurkice Pouncey went down on opening day, it was Beachum who filled in at center after some reps at tight end. When Adams and Marcus Gilbert were ineffective against the Bears, it was Beachum who played both the left and right tackle positions. And last week against the Vikings, the “Swiss army knife” stepped in at left guard for an injured Ramon Foster.
Plus, with Le’Veon Bell healthy and showing promise, Brown could very well help the Steelers find more success on the ground versus the league’s sixth ranked rushing defense. As poorly as Brown has been as a pass protector in recent seasons, he does represent a stronger run blocking option than Beachum and Adams at the moment. And as much of a fan as I am of Beachum’s overall versatility, his lack of size (6’3″ 303 lbs.) and inexperience at the professional level at the left tackle position are causes for concern.
With so many questions yet to be answered however, I for one am intrigued to see how the battle between Brown and Beachum will unfold this week during Pittsburgh’s practices.
Will Brown take advantage of his new surroundings and fresh start in Pittsburgh? Or will Beachum continue to exceed expectations and hold off the veteran?
Regardless of what transpires during the next six days, I just hope that someone emerges as a more competent option than Mike Adams on Ben’s blind-side.
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