Pittsburgh Steelers head coach, Mike Tomlin, recently announced some changes he made to the offensive and defensive lines. Here are the pros and cons of the changes.
The Pittsburgh Steelers lost Javon Hargrave, Ramon Foster, and B.J. Finney this offseason. After doing very little to fill the voids left by these players in free agency or the NFL Draft, we could have assumed that some big changes would be coming.
Mike Tomlin made that official earlier this week, as he stated that right tackle Matt Feiler would kick inside to left guard while Tyson Alualu would take over at nose tackle.
While these changes will prove to be beneficial to the team in some ways, not all news is good. Here are the pros and cons of Tomlin’s decision to switch players’ positions on the depth chart:
Pros of Steelers depth chart changes:
Ramon Foster has been a consistent staple to the Steelers offensive line for the past decade. Though Stefen Wisniewski has proven to be a capable player, Matt Feiler is coming off the best season of his career, and kicking him inside to guard gives Pittsburgh potentially the best lineup.
Defensively, unless the Steelers looked for a nose tackle very early in the NFL Draft, they were unlikely to find one that would be as good right away as what Tyson Alualu will be for them. Though 0-technique is not his natural position, he will have Stephon Tuitt and Cameron Heyward next to him to help alleviate pressure. This also means that Chris Wormley can stay at his natural spot as a 5-technique and serve as a sub for Heyward and Tuitt.
Cons of Steelers depth chart changes:
While kicking Feiler inside sounds good in theory, there’s no guarantee this unit will mesh together as well. We know Feiler was a good tackle last year, but we haven’t seen him play guard since he did so sparingly in 2017. Meanwhile, though Zach Banner and Chukwuma Okorafor have been preparing for a role as a starting tackle, there is no guarantee that they will come in and be anywhere near as good as Feiler was last season in his old role.
On the defensive side of the ball, we saw that Alualu was a welcomed substitution for Heyward and Tuitt on defense, but he could struggle in an entirely different role as a nose tackle. If Alualu struggles to hold up at the point of attack, it could spell trouble for the Steelers run defense.
Obviously, there is nothing to get too worried about until we see how these changes play out on the field. Mike Tomlin is very familiar with his players in their strengths and limitations, and he probably isn’t going to put them in a position to fail. Let’s hope these changes prove to be beneficial to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020.