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Report: New Steelers C Fernando Velasco To Start Monday Night


It's looking more and more like new Pittsburgh Steelers center Fernando Velasco might just start Monday night against the Cincinnati Bengals as the former Tennessee Titan is reportedly picking up the playbook quick.

According to Scott Brown of ESPN.com, several Steelers players have said they have never seen anyone pick up a playbook so fast as Velasco is.

"I haven't seen him mess up one time. I’ve just never seen a guy come in and pick up an offense that fast," running back Isaac Redman said Friday, according to a tweet by Brown.

The biggest obstacle for Velasco isn't necessarily so much the blocking scheme the Steelers run, but the verbiage used to communicate the line calls. The Titans ran a similar blocking scheme when Velasco was with them, so that certainly plays in his favor. In addition, guard Ramon Foster can make the line calls initially as long as the new center can understand what they mean.

The Steelers still have a few more days to work on this with the game being Monday night and it would be a huge plus if Velasco can ultimately start as that would allow Kelvin Beachum to play the second tight end role in the offense.

The Steelers also figure to get fullback Will Johnson back this week as well so that could result in more 21 and 22 personnel groupings Monday night in effort to get the running game kick started.

UPDATE: Gerry Dulac is now reporting that Velasco will indeed start Monday night.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • steeltown

    Good News!

  • Matt Manzo

    Gdulac just reported that he IS going to start vs bengals? But the article just said the same as this one, nothing confirmed by anyone with the team?

  • cencalsteeler

    This signing might just be the boost the Oline needs. IMO, Velasco might nail this job down for years to come. It may help the FO in it’s negotiations with Pouncey’s contract, too. And who knows, when Pouncey returns, he may find himself transitioning to the guard position. Either way, it’s probably the best move by the Steelers since the draft. Free Fernando!!!

  • Bilgewater D

    This may end up being a “Chris Hoke” type of story. Pro-bowl player goes down, and his back-up comes in and dominates it.

  • steeltown

    Its an interesting thought, obviously don’t want to look too far ahead especially since Velasco hasn’t even played a game with us yet and we don’t know how much success he’ll ultimately have.. but, lets say he does excel with our group, the thought of having Pouncey then play LG is intriguing..leaving then Foster and Beachum as a very solid swing group across the entire OLine. Although Foster makes too much $$$ to simply be a swing backup IMO

  • TheBlitz

    Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves with Pouncey’s contract negotiations and possible position move etc…when this guy hasn’t even snapped the ball once with the Steelers.

    Can we at least wait until we can confirm he’s a stud after a few games ?

    Until then, let’s just hope he plays at a high level when his # is called (hopefully Monday night) and stays healthy.

  • steeltown

    Indeed

  • Mike.H

    Whenever Steelers played a team with ALL-Pro lineman injured, his back up was just as stout [ Raiders, Titans, many others]. Does not happen on Steelers team, tho.

  • srdan

    Agreed. I thought Pouncey excelled at guard last year. I am not bothered by the loss on the field, obviously I feel for him personally. As a matter of fact, I am not bothered by any of the losses LSH, Foote or P.

    I am excited to see this line. In the back of my mind I keep thinking that a lot of our Oline problems started when we drafted Pouncey. Right about this time Faneca was gone as well, which is my counter argument to myself. I know that my reasoning is not even remotely logical that our Oline is limited by Pouncey, but some part of me is excited to see Fernando play!

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Great news. Makes me feel much better. But let’s PLEASE not jump off the bridge if he doesn’t look like a Pro-Bowl center in one game. I want to be optimistic, but let’s temper expectations.

  • cencalsteeler

    Last year, Fernando statistically ranked higher than Pouncey. He shows dependability, was a fan favorite with the Titans, and is so far, picking up the play book very nicely. This guy is not like a undrafted free agent signing, he has a proven track record.

  • Bill Bobertson

    What’s up with the title of the article, guys? Has it been confirmed? Because if not that’s an awfully silly title.

  • SteelersDepot

    Is your reading comprehension down for the weekend?

    Report: that means there is a report.

    After the : is what is being reported.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    Velasco could in fact save the Oline for this season. Can he? I don’t know, but losing Pouncey could have been pretty deadly for this team. The FO has found a way to get this done in a way which may benefit us…AND…may benefit us long term.

  • Terribletoweler

    The definition of a report is ambiguous. The title may be interpreted as positively implying V’s start as positively confirmed, while the body of the article only confirms that other players are very positive about the possibility of V starting and that V is not saying anything himself. Bill is right to point out the ambiguous nature of your title, and your ad hominem response is both insulting and disappointing considering you are counted as a reputable site for Steelers information.

  • Bilgewater D

    Come on now. Aren’t you asking a little much of people by asking them to read?

  • SteelersDepot

    Let me fix this for you.

  • steeltown

    I noticed in the recent Roethlisberger interview regarding the upcoming Cincinnati game in the background you can see M.Wheatons locker is right next to Bens.. I like this idea

  • Berlusconi

    Yes, Prof. Farnsworth!

  • TheBlitz

    That’s remarkable! Don’t get me wrong, I too I’m excited about his potential.

    But can all that be translated on the field with the Steelers (new offense, new terminology, etc..) and new teammates on the the OL knowing that great chemistry is important for those guys ?

    That’s why I prefer a wait-and-see approach, then I can speculate on next season and off season moves. For now I take it one game at a time.

  • Steve

    I have to hand it to the Front Office for picking up quality players when the team is in need.

  • Curtis

    it cant get no worse that what we had!!!!!!

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I 100% agree but we haven’t had much good news so we are getting on this bus and taking it as far as it goes…lol

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Luck had some to do with this.

  • TsarPepe

    Yeah, but what are we gonna talk about in the meantime?!

  • Showboogie

    Best news I heard all day. Thanks Dave

  • Bilgewater D

    Success = Luck + Opportunity

  • Rob H

    Luck had a LOT to do with it, I couldn’t believe no one picked up a starting caliber o-lineman the day he was released, especially this guy.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    yah buddy!

  • Bilgewater D

    That’s because it was DESTINY

  • Bilgewater D

    Lolley’s reporting that Velasco is splitting reps with Beachum. I’d bet my bottom dollar Velasco starts, Beachum plays mostly tight end, and the Steelers go into Cincy and kick the snot out of them.

  • PA2AK

    I agree with you. Not sure if my opinion is based in fact either, but I don’t think Pouncey has a Center’s mentality. I see the C as the leader and typically the more cerebral of the lineman. Pouncey doesn’t fit that mold to me. He’s a heck of a player, but he does seem better suited at guard. His struggles with picking up the zone blocking scheme, to me anyways, point to his slight lack of mental flexibility. That seems to have caught up with his physical abilities. Hope he does well in recovery though.

  • Douglas Andrews

    I hope he comes in and anchors this O line! but I have a wait and see approach as well.

  • John Hinton

    Finally, some positive news! Let’s keep this going.

  • NW86

    …and he got cut and remained on the street until 5 days ago.

  • Michael Briscoe

    Is it wrong to think we keep Velasco at center and move Pouncy to guard, Foster as a backup?

  • LAMuir

    I hope Pouncey gets better. But, in the end, I think Velasco might be a much better candidate going forward. Hopefully, he proves me right and he sticks around for more than this year. Pouncey then can duke it out with Foster for guard next year.

  • Christopher Wilkes

    …actually he was originally an undrafted free agent signing, but you’re right about him being ranked ‘statistically’ higher then Pouncey.

  • Mike.H

    Add San Diego Chargers to that list.

  • Mike.H

    If Fernando #61 grabs the bull by horn; being only 28 years old, you know the rest! Do it!!!

  • motown_98

    I really think Velasco being the veteran on such a young O-line is going to anchor it down. I hope his presence and understanding of the offense will make the rest of the O-line better. They can’t do worse than last week. Let’s Go Steelers! Come out on Monday and play physical and with some passion!

  • charles

    Why is he not playing for Munchak then?

  • charles

    In a totally different direction Dave, I made similar comments as above on Pouncey when you showed three Gifs on DeCastro. You accused me of some computer lingo word meaning that a comment was being put forth just to start an argument. You wrote ‘Methinks Charles is trolling’ guess there are quite a few who see Pouncey in a similar light.

  • Lt_Scrounge

    Luck is when preparation meets opportunity. Those scouts have to do their jobs or the front office is clueless as to who can do the job or not.

    Of course the front office has to read ALL of the scouting material. Otherwise you end up with a Hernandez type situation. I just wish the Steelers would pick up Tebow as a backup. Given a few seasons on the bench, he’ll become a better QB and/or convert to tight end. Either way he has the personality that would fit well with the Steelers’ family values.

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