The Pittsburgh Steelers are wrapping up their third and final OTA session this week prior to the mandatory mini-camp that takes place next and offensive line coach Sean Kugler evidently talked to the media today after practice.
According to Scott Brown of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Kugler said today that he\'d like to have a starting five in place by start of training camp at the end of July. This statement is not too surprising by Kugler, but it figures that the starting five that end mini-camp next week will likely line up as starters once training camp gets underway at the end of July. Of course there is no guarantee in that.
Rookies David DeCastro and Mike Adams have both missed all of the OTA sessions thus far because of school requirements, but it was reported this past week that both will be present for mini-camp. As far as the opportunity for both to be part of the Steelers starting five, Kugler said that he wouldn\'t have a problem starting two rookies if they can earn the jobs. The Steelers have not started two rookies on the offensive line at the same time in the first week of the regular season in at least 40 years, and there is a good chance that it hasn\'t happened during the Super Bowl era.
As far as which group both DeCastro and Adams will run with next week at mini-camp. Brown reports that Kugler said that DeCastro will work with the first and second team, as will Adams. With the two draft picks unable to participate in any of the OTA sessions thus far, Marcus Gilbert, Jonatthan Scott and Trai Essex have all taken first team reps at left tackle over the course of the three weeks. Gilbert, who was told heading into the off-season that he should prepare to play left tackle this year after ending his rookie season as the starting right tackle in place of the injured Willie Colon, has said over the last few weeks that he should not be ruled out of the running for the starting left tackle job despite the Steelers drafting of Adams. Gilbert says the left tackle spot is his natural position and a passion of his to play. That said, he still has reportedly taken quite a few reps at right tackle over the course of the last few weeks.
At right guard, where DeCastro figures to compete for the starting job, Ramon Foster is speculated as being the one to take most of the first team snaps the last two weeks after sitting out the initial OTA session with a hamstring strain.
We should get a better idea of how the first and second units stack up next week and hopefully the media can continue to pass along that information.