In a recent poll, Pittsburgh Steelers fans voted on who should be the starting left guard this year… and the results aren’t even close.
Before minicamp started in June, Mike Tomlin hinted that there could be a battle for the starting left guard position this year. The Pittsburgh Steelers signed Mason Cole and James Daniels in the offseason, and with the money they dished out, it was evident that both players would be starters this year. However, there was one position on the offensive line still up for grabs.
In 2021, Kevin Dotson began the year as the starter; however, a severe high-ankle sprain roughly halfway through the season forced him off the field in Week 10. Dotson would not return for a single snap last year, according to Pro Football Reference. When he did start early in the season, the results were not as good as what we had hoped for after a promising rookie performance in limited action in 2020.
After things did not go so well with Kendrick Green at center during his rookie year in 2021, the Steelers elected to move him back to guard — a position he played during his time at Illinois. Unfortunately, the results have not been ideal throughout Steelers training camp this year, and Green really struggled with the starters in his first preseason game.
Over the course of camp, Mike Tomlin has been rotating Kendrick Green and Kevin Dotson with the starters each day — trying to see which player will emerge and be the final piece of this group of five. While he may not have things figured out yet, fans believe they do.
Recently, I took a poll on Twitter asking which player is better: Dotson or Green. This proved to be overwhelmingly one-sided:
Of 264 voters, 97 percent of them believe that Dotson is the better football player. One commenter even joked that the only ones voting for Green were Kendrick himself and his parents. It’s clear that Steelers fans think Dotson is the better option, so what is taking the team so long to name a starter at left guard for the 2022 season?
Why Steelers aren’t ready to name a starter at LG
Based on my first-hand observations at Steelers training camp this year, the difference between these two players was very easy to see. Green struggled mightily to handle power — something that has been the story of his career so far.
While Dotson certainly wasn’t perfect, he clearly looked like the better football player. This was most evident in one-on-ones. Dotson held his own against players like Cameron Heyward and Larry Ogunjobi while Green struggled to anchor against Isaiahh Loudermilk.
Sadly, these factors by themselves are not enough for Tomlin Dotson as the starter. Working against the third-year guard is his heath. While Green has been mostly healthy throughout camp, Dotson has been dinged up with minor ailments, including another ankle injury that has kept him out of practice.
There were also reports last year that the Steelers were not pleased with the shape Kevin Dotson was in when he arrived at camp. Dotson has also been flagged for some false starts at training camp, and some believe there could be a deeper personality issue that we don’t see on the surface.
I don’t want to speculate what the reasoning is for the indecision here, but I think most fans can agree that they would rather see the bigger, stronger Kevin Dotson rolling with the starting offensive line when the Steelers take on the Bengals in Week 1 rather than the completely unspectacular Kendrick Green.