New Steelers C Fernando Velasco Thinks He Can Get Up To Speed By Monday Night

Due to the Tennessee Titans running a lot of similar blocking schemes that the Pittsburgh Steelers are currently using, new center Fernando Velasco said Wednesday he thinks he might have a chance to be ready to start Monday night against the Cincinnati Bengals.

“There’s a little bit difference in terminology,” Velasco said during his talk with media. “The coaches are doing a real good job catching me up, even the players. There’re a lot of smart players here. Ramon Foster, he’s doing an awesome job helping me. Just sticking with the play book and getting to learn everything, and getting familiarized with the code words and words that they call stuff. Just work the next couple of days and see what happens.”

What the Steelers need to happen is for Velasco to eventually take over the center spot after losing starter Maurkice Pouncey for the season due to a serious knee injury suffered Sunday in the season opener against the Titans. Velasco was in church when the injury happened, but his agent let him know soon afterwards about the situation and that the Steelers might be interested in his services.

“Right after the game he called me and told me that he had spoken with the team, and they were interested,” said Velasco. “An hour or so later we set up a flight to come do a physical. It’s a blessing. I’m happy to be here and just ready to get started.”

Should Velasco not be ready to start come Monday night, the Steelers will have no choice but to let second-year offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum make his first career start at center against the Bengals, whose defensive line is arguably one of the best in the league.

Velasco played against the Bengals in week two of the preseason and he played well, and should he indeed wind up starting, then Beachum can be used as a second tight end like he was supposed to be used throughout the game against the Titans before Pouncey went down injured.

Velasco, who said he was pretty surprised that the Titans cut him after restricted tendering him at a second-round level during the offseason, is just thankful for the opportunity to play for such a storied franchise such as the Steelers.

I’m just thankful the Lord gave me the opportunity, especially to come to a great organization like this,” said Velasco. “It’s exciting.”

  • dgh57

    No way does Velasko not start the Bengals game. If he wants to come off as a smart guy, which I’m sure he does, then he’ll be out there starting. He plays the Center position and already has the mechanics down for the positions so it’s only a matter of terminology.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    I’m on same boat as you but… they did sign Cody Wallace and didn’t even activated him. I’m upbeat about the possible outcome of this season but right now I’m skeptical because of their movement with O-line and running backs. We have mismanaged as whole, so I’m going to wait this one by ear.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I would think Wallace would be ready to go if he is a better option then Beachum but my only problem with saying Velasco will start is that is not what the coaching staff is saying, they could be blowing smoke but I doubt it. Expect Beachum.

  • steeltown

    Would be nice.. I don’t think it will happen though, but we’ll see

  • dgh57

    I’m not sure Wallace is the best option as he has zero starts as a Center since 2008. We need Beachum at TE to help with blocking so I hope Velasko is ready to go.

  • Steeler Goetz

    If Velasco doesn’t have the terminology down, he can’t make the line calls. That doens’t mean he can’t play Beachum’s role as the blocking TE, though. Why can’t we see him or Wallace being used the way Beachum was supposed to be used if Beachum has to start?

  • Luke Shabro

    They were talking about Ben and/or Ramon making the line calls even if Beachum starts. I say put Velasco in. Center is his natural position. Beachum held his own somewhat but he’s definitely not a center by trade.

  • r4kolb

    So we cut Dave Malecki to sign Wallace because he was better at the center position, only to not use him when we lost our center game one. Now when our center is out for the season we sign Velasco to play the position, but he may not be ready for game 2. OK now Wallace will play the position we cut Malecki for right….. Nope, once again we will use Beachum to play center. So I ask you Dave Bryan, can you tell me again WHY we cut Malecki??????

  • StrengthOfVictory

    My thought is that we’ll hear about both guys getting first team reps as the week goes on. Beachum will get more of those reps (because of depth order), but Velasco will have the chance to compete for the job. The coaches won’t bench Beachum if they can’t say Velasco “beat him out” for the position.

    However you slice it, I want Beachum to maintain his swing ability. Let’s get Velasco in there at C.

  • Doni609

    Because the Colbert/Tomlin ‘cluster’ doesn’t have a clue what they’re doing, plain and simple!

  • Doni609

    I sincerely hate to be the bearer of bad news but regardless of how they rearrange that collection second-tier bodies that comprise our ‘O’ Line, Big Ben will be in for a long evening. Hope and pray that he gets out with no severe injuries. Colbert & Tomlin should be selling used cars for a living and not trying to do a job for which it is painfully obvious they know squat about.

  • steeltown

    Hmmm, that’s interesting that tandem has been to 2 SB in the last 5yrs and won one of them.. Colbert is actually 2 for 3 in the SB dept. during his tenure

    One bad season does not overshadow those accomplishments

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    My thoughts exactly they should have just gave beachum wallace paycheck and filled another position really poor management. and. although i understand position flex ut they should at least draft hi quality players that have some skill instead of experiencing i mean really no knock on beachum but hes a late round pick now they throwing him all over the field so basically what im trying to say is by them making players jack of all trades but master at none is hurtin team more than helping us if you need a left tackle then plain and simple draft a left tackle so on an so on same thing i posted about them drafting de from a 4-3 and making them sit for years to learn the def an play lber in 3-4 instead of going after 3-4 lbers in the first place we finally got it right with jarvis jones an its paying off

  • treeher

    Panicked decision-making is my guess. They’ve drafted two number ones and two number twos and we should have better results. Is it the coaching? The blocking schemes? In coaches defense, Miller gets hurt, they get Spaeth, who has the rep of an excellent blocking TE, and HE gets hurt … their most experienced OL gets taken out by friendly fire … I’m not sure any coach could deal with this mess.

  • edward gill

    Coaches coach,players play. offensive line soft must get nasty.steelers weakness hidden in previous years because defense caused turnovers.Colbert an Tomlin take a lot of infor.from other coaches.Ibelieve there are a lot of messages from other football fans trying to sew discord.

  • Bilgewater D

    Derp, Derp, Derp

  • Bilgewater D

    Derp, Derp

  • DoctorNoah

    Yawn. One game does not a season make. I’m not willing to concede that Tomlin’s a bad coach or that Colbert’s not a good manager. Injuries happen and require a lot of adjustment. It just happens that injuries took out a pro bowl center, and, ironically, the management had been trying to find good backup help in the last few weeks of the preseason for just this reason. I think it’s actually prescient that they got Wallace, but I think Velasco’s a great find and picking him up is a real upgrade over Wallace and Beachum. It may take a week to install him appropriately, but whatever. Two weeks does not a season make either.

    Tied for first in the AFC North right now. We couldn’t have had a worse week than last, so up is the only place to go on Monday night…

  • steeltown

    Not to mention without our Pro Bowl TE, our #2 TE, our starting Fullback, our #2 CB, our 3rd down scat back and our hopeful every down RB (Bell)

  • r4kolb

    Uh Doc…you did watch last season, did you not? This team has been on a downward spiral the past 2 seasons. Also Colbert and the FO’s picks overall have been average at best the last 4 or more years. So considering you started your response with a yawn, I’m going to guess you were napping the past 2 seasons. Wake up and smell the burnt toast, and no that’s not William Gay you smell. Although he does get burnt a lot too. Ha ha ha.

  • steeltown

    We were just fine last year before Ben went down with a major injury, ultimately he doesn’t play well after returning from injury, atleast most cases in recent history

    Being Steeler fans we should all know that most of the drafted players do not start immediately or atleast are not full time starters so there’s no way to completely gauge the talent that has been drafted the last 2yrs

  • Mkeller

    This guy needs to play so when the time comes Monday night to bench Gilbert they’ll have Beachum available to play RT.

  • Mkeller

    The idea that the team was fine until Ben went down is not entirely true. They still weren’t getting TO’s/sacks on defense and couldn’t run the ball on offense. Ben was keeping them afloat but they were anything but fine.

  • Jollyrob68

    Really? They have SupeBowls to prove you wrong.

  • Jollyrob68

    Have Ben make the calls like they use too or Ramon Foster. Let him play Center now!

  • steeltown

    Yes, there were some deficiencies in the run game for sure and creating turnovers was an issue (we were actually worse in turnover diff in 2011) but we were still 6-3 after the week he was injured last season

  • KP

    We weren’t 6-3 after Ben got injured. Ben was 6-3, but the rest of the team was 0-9.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I am hoping that too.

  • Brian Buzol

    Please take off two off your examples if you are trying to prove the Rooney’s should not fire Tomlin: Ravens went 5-11 in 2007 (ouch). Yes, ouch, Head coach=Brian Billick he won a superbowl and got fired. Their new coach was an upgrade. SanFran 2010=Mike Singletary =fired!! Worked out pretty well for the franchise after he got fired.