Steelers OL Coach Sean Kugler Not Opposed To Starting DeCastro & Adams If Both Can Win Jobs

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.


  • Harold

    Okay so let’s assume (just for fun) that Adams will be our starter at LT opening day. Who is our number two? Who is our back up at left tackle? During this “waiting for Adams” period, I would’ve liked to have seen some progress by Kuglar and Haley and even Colbert to find and establish our #2 guy. Maybe he’s already on the team? Maybe we bring a guy in? I just think they should do a better job of controlling what we can control. I understand we might have to wait until camp to establish a pecking order. That’s fine. But when your only options behind Adams are J. Scott and Essex, I’m sorry, you have got to put your heads together and come up with an acceptable plan B. Is it Starks? Fine. Then sign him now, so you don’t lose him. Is it a veteran like Marcus McNeil? Fine. Then sign him now. Don’t wait until the end of all the other team’s camp cuts to pick the scraps off the bottom of the barrel. Sign or trade for a legit back up. Now. Please.

  • Guest5

    The backups they have are just fine. If the LT goes down…then either Essex or Gilbert will go there and if its Gilbert then Scott or Essex will move to RT (RT is by far Scott’s best position). Obviously if they were to bring Starks back once he’s cleared then I see him being the backup at both OT spots with Essex behind him. Its not as bad a situation as you make it out to be…some people just dislike players no matter what…Essex is a solid backup at ALL 5 OL positions and Scott is decent at RT…shoot Foster can play RT if needed too.

  • RIP

    Yes the two rookies are better than anyone else that plays their position, sad but true

  • Harold

    I respect your opinion but completely disagree that J.Scott and Essex are adequate back ups at tackle. I think it makes much more sense to bring in a veteran left tackle than to move Gilbert from right to left then back to right with a sub in between. And I don’t dislike players no matter what. I’m very willing to give new or unproven guys a shot. But when I see a player underperform and make the same mistakes year after year (like Kemoeatu), I would rather try something new.

  • JohnnyV1

    Start both of them. Their competition isn’t really too stiff. I agree with some others, to bring back big Max Starks. Get rid of J Scott already, he’s bad.

  • Jmazza

    i think the FO is just waiting to see how Essex really pans out at LT and the health of Starks. if Max was healthy now they would have cut Scott. But it seems that theres nothing in free agency and if Scott already knows the system you might as well just keep him until something else comes along..

  • SteelerDave

    The only way I want to see J-Scott still on the team is if he is to solely to play back-up RT to Gilbert. However if Essex can learn to play a solid LT and Adams starts at LT then cut Scott as Essex has already shown he can play RT decently enough to be a back-up there. With Scott cut and saving 2+ mil a year, sign Starks or give a roster spot to an OT with a future upside.

  • SteelSpine

    The reason I agree with now try sign a free agent scrap from bottom of barrel, is based on: #1) I agree we know what we have (yikes) in Scott & Essex there, & #2) I think it’s to get the free agent learning our playbook now so he can backup this season. Pay will be a hurdle because LTs will probly want overpaid. Starks too much question mark physically yet for Steelers to want to sign him.

    I dont think any team needs to know exactly which player on their squad is their #2 player at any position yet at this time though. But I agree the odds we’ll need a vet better than Scott & Essex to fill in at LT are so high it’s almost automatic. If we wait till better backups are cut by other teams i.e. in their last cuts of preseason, that would be too late for a vet cut by another team to learn the terminoligy here to be of any help the 1st half of the season.

  • Steeltyke

    I think it likely that the Steelers go with what they have at T plus the possible re-signing of Starks for the vet minimum for a player of his longevity in the league. Assuming a starting line of Adams, Colon, Pouncey, DeCastro & Gilbert, I am happy with the interior backups being Foster & Legursky. The weakness is at T if Adams or Gilbert goes down as I don’t think that they would want to move Colon back to RT or Gilbert across to LT. If one goes down I think that they look to Starks in the short term if he is healthy or Essex/Scott and that the Steelers will wait to draft a swing T in the middle rounds of the 2013 draft for the future.

    I really like what Kugler has achieved given the injuries and lack of starting calibre talent he inherited since joining the Steelers. Now that he has been given real talent to develop over the last 3 drafts, I am really excited about how good the OL can be barring further injuries.