On Mike Adams And Job Security

By Matthew Marczi

It was believed by some that the decision of the Pittsburgh Steelers to acquire offensive tackle Levi Brown from the Arizona Cardinals was made in part because it gave the team the opportunity to put Mike Adams on the shelf for a while in order to break him down without the pressure of being asked to play.

Now with Brown putting himself out of the picture before even watching a snap from the sidelines, the Steelers have little choice but to promote Adams back up to second-string from the scout team.

I say that, of course, because I refuse to believe that the team could enter a game with Guy Whimper and Cody Wallace as their backup linemen.

The biggest question that now remains, however, is what happens next.

Will the Steelers afford Adams the opportunity to win back his job when they believe he is ready to resume the responsibility? Or will Kelvin Beachum have to lose the job first for him to get a chance? In other words, is Beachum now the starting left tackle until proven otherwise?

While he gave up a hurry early on that very nearly went for a safety if not for the strength and athleticism of Ben Roethlisberger, Beachum had a clean game after that from a pass protection standpoint.

He was penalized three times, twice for holding, though at least one of those calls were questionable. In the running game, however, he simply does not offer much push, although it is easier to hide on the left side in this offense.

If Beachum maintains that status quo over at left tackle, what does that mean for Adams? Would the team allow him to compete with Marcus Gilbert for the right tackle spot by rotating the two, as they did with Beachum earlier this year—and as they intended to do with Brown against the New York Jets?

Could they possibly have him learn the tight end position, as they taught Kelvin Beachum, in order to get him on the field within the next few games? After all, a second-round pick is quite a commodity to have sitting on the bench. Likewise, the tight end position was just dealt a blow with the loss of David Johnson.

The bottom line is this: is Mike Adams’ future really in his own hands, as the team and others have suggested? Does he have a spot on the line waiting for him when he is ready to take it back, or is he now a pinch hitter, waiting for somebody else to struggle before he gets another chance to prove himself?

Other than the sacks, the offensive line as a whole only allowed five other pressures over the course of the game, which was the best of the year by some margin. Maybe Adams should follow Beachum’s lead and start learning how to play guard and tight end.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • steeltown

    I think its Beachums job to lose.. the OL played pretty well and we got our first victory. Adams will be swing OT and be the first one called upon to replace someone when they struggle. I personally think he has much room for improvement, he’s young, he needs to build strength and work on technique but I think his best Football is ahead of him.

  • Dale

    I’d like to see him get the chance to compete with Gilbert for RT. Adams did a decent job of run blocking from the RT spot last year, and we need someone who can run block. I never understood why they moved Adams to the left and Gilbert to the right, which seemed to me to capitalize on the weaknesses of both.

  • Dr. Doom

    I think Gilbert has done a good job at RT, I see no reason to move him. And Beachum is not a long term LT maybe a serviceable guard but that’s probably pushing it. They need to get a LT be it a draft pick or sign a good one. It might cost you a little, it might cost you a lot but it will cost you.

  • Callentown

    Feels like we’re still in the world of not knowing if EITHER Gilbert or Adams can actually be a solid starter at RT. Hopefully, this developmental season will at least turn in the information needed to know who we have and who we still need.

  • Eric

    Our first draft pick in 2014 will be an OT provided no disaster happens to Ben. That plus another year of experience for our current line and a bit of help with injuries and we have good protectors next year.

  • charles

    This will be a little harsh. Adams like Sweed and Wallace, displays inexplicable stupidity at times. Who has not seen Adams this year standing NOT blocking ANYBODY while Ben is getting hammered, looking completely baffled? Adams confusion is because he is a stoner. Who knows if he is a good player or not, but if confused we know that he has no business on NFL Sundays except maybe playing for the Bengals or Ravens.

  • Luke Shabro

    Why would he have no business unless playing for the Bengals or Ravens? Because you hate them or because you think they’re bad teams? Your argument doesn’t make sense. I’m not a big Adams believer at all and I wasn’t psyched when we drafted him but I’m just saying you don’t really make sense here.

  • joed32

    You’re right, Gilbert is playing well. Better than Adams was last year on the right side.

  • Xclewsive

    Beachum isn’t a LT, but I’ll wait a few more weeks for him to prove me right. As for being the most well round OL Beachum has that title. He’s best used in the position he played prior a utility OL. While Adams did struggle the Steelers will not run the ball effectively to the left with Beachum at OT because he’s a patty cake OL. I wish Mike Adams had Beachum’s desire to be better. Beachum has been praised for his work after practice perfecting his craft. Can’t say I’ve heard anything like that about Mike Adams.

  • steeltown

    There are many intelligent human beings that have smoked grass or continue to smoke grass. I think this is more of a readiness issue, he’s young and inexperienced at the pro level, dating back to last year he’s started 10games in his career. Hell the 1st and 2nd overall picks this past year are struggling to transition to the NFL thus far

  • dgh57

    At least for the Ravens game we need blockers because of their pass rush. Maybe starting Adams at LT and have Beachum come in as a extra TE(he has more practice time at TE) on whichever side Suggs is coming from to provide help with blocking. That or use newly acquired TE Richard Gorden. I prefer the latter option.

  • Jeff

    Gilbert has strung together positive performances at RT… I don’t think we mess with that. LT is the problem – keep the focus there.

  • Mike.H

    Can we expect Steelers to pick up an out-of-work OT to replace injured Levi Strauss [ blue jeans].

  • Virdin Barzey

    I think we’ve seen enough of the Mike Adams circus for one year. When you have guys consistently go around you LT untouched and crush the QB, you might as well have nobody in there. Hence he has earned the name of “Human Traffic Cone.”

    Please someone show me footage of Adams doing a good job blocking at the LT position against a good player. I would send him to the practice squad if they think he’s salvage material.

    Otherwise, both him and Ziggy Hood has got to go. They have had countless opportunities and its time to move forward.

  • HopalongCassidy

    Whimper and Wallace may be bad, even real bad but to say that they would be so much worse than Adams defies logic. Just placing a living breathing human body on the line at LT would suffice to be the equal of Adams on many plays and at last look, both Whimper and Wallace meet that criteria. How many times have DE’s been able to by-pass Adams without him even so much as having laid a finger on them ? Quite a few that I have seen. If these guys are so bad that they don’t ever deserve to dress then they don’t belong on an NFL roster period. Go pick up some arena players or something but to pay guys that you will NEVER trust or NEVER use is ridiculous. Something is wrong here.

  • HopalongCassidy

    I disagree. If Gilbert is playing “well” then the bar is set pretty low. He sucks and I would be looking for his replacement next year as well as Adam’s replacement.

  • steeltown

    I agree, Beachum will need help over there, sucks that DJ is down. Your idea is a sound one I’d also consider playing Dwyer more in this game for pass protection, sounds crazy, but he is above avg in that department.

    One thing that is encouraging is how well we did against the NYJ and their Defense, they are just as stout this year

  • steeltown

    I agree that we maybe have seen enough of Adams, for now. I think he needs to build more strength and work on his technique more. But Adams has only started 10games dating back to last year, not to mention he was recovering from being stabbed a few months ago. Joeckel and Fisher have struggled mightily in their rookie campaigns, should the Jags get rid of Luke Joeckel or should the Chiefs place Eric Fisher on the practice squad because they have struggled early on in their young careers…

    Also, Ziggy is on pace for his best season statistically

  • steeltown

    They only dress 7OL on game day, there will always be atleast ONE OLineman that is inactive

  • 20Stoney

    I don’t like the idea of rotating offensive linemen. OL needs continuity. Put your best 5 out there and let them play. Between rotating and guys going from first team to third team, it looks like the coaching staff really doesn’t know who their best players are.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I think they would have done that already if that was their intention.

  • Matthew Marczi

    The problem is when you don’t know who your best five are. Under normal circumstances, I would never condone a rotation, but I don’t think the Steelers are in a position where they should be comfortable with their starting five and knowing that they are the best line you can put out.

  • Josh Knepshield

    They have a bunch of guys who can be considered criminals or bad character guys. So he did, in fact, make sense.

  • John Williams

    His best football has to be ahead of him….because he played nothing but bad football up to this point.

  • TJimmy

    Mike Adams has actually has a lower lower rating on Profootballfocus than Guy Whimper. Don’t be surprised if we see Whimper as Tomlins first choice as tackle backup.

  • HopalongCassidy

    I was addressing the point that he couldn’t believe that the Steelers could ever enter a game with either of those guys dressed as backups and if that is the case, then why are they on the team to begin with ? And, are they really that much worse than Adams ? How would we ever know if they’ve never played or will never play ?


    It wouldn’t be like PIT to give on a 2nd rd pick, especially an OL this quickly…Tomlin and crew saw Adams play LT in camp, and preseason…he didn’t regress that much in a couple of months…they had to know this was going to take some time…what they didn’t plan on was being 0-4. Drastic measures were needed.

    Also with young players…if a coach sees you making the same mistake (mental) more than once or twice, that will get you on the bench quick. And I think that’s what happened here…getting beat is one thing, missing an assignement is another.

    IMO, Tomlin is going to keep Beachum @ LT until his play dictates he needs to make another change. Adams will get another shot to prove himself before his contract his up.

  • Matt Manzo

    Any chance were still looking for a free agent LT or another trade?

  • Shannon Stephenson

    My thought Matt is that is what preseason is for. If they cannot figure it out then we need new coaches then.


    I don’t like it either…I think this is pretty simple…I’m sure they know who the best OL are, but they really don’t have a legit LT on the roster…Adams was the best they felt they had, but he’s not ready and as many have said is probably a better RT.

    As long as Beachum is handling the load, keep that same 5 together…if he falters I think you go back to Adams…adding a 3rd body to the LT spot is not a good idea unless he’s going to be the full-time guy.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Now Adams has to really outplay Beachum for the position or Beachum has to just fail miserably like Adams did in oreder for Adams to regain his position.

  • Dr. Doom

    None @ all

  • steeltown

    I think he played admirably his rookie season at RT, this year not so much at LT

  • Bob Loblaw

    Steelers have had just as much trouble with bad apples so it’s a little hard to point fingers.

  • Josh Knepshield

    Are they still on the team? Rainey is gone, so is Ta’amu. We got rid of Holmes. Adam Jones, Vontaze Burfict, and many more guys in the past have played for the Bengals and received no punishment from the team. The Bengals just don’t place a high level of concern on bad charcter guys.

  • Andrew Grigsby

    Adams was a horrible pick last yr. What a total waste of a draft pick. The guy is nothing more than a back up OT. It’s a shame they have to go back and draft another OT in ’14. Kevin Colbert really needs to look in the mirror. He’s not getting the job done draft wise anymore.

  • Bob Loblaw

    Neither Burfict or Jones have been in trouble since joining the Bengals as far as I know. There would be no need to punish them.

    Ta’amu wasn’t cut immediately and was drafted with a history. Steelers didn’t cut him until much later (could say when they were sure they could play McClendon at NT). Do I even need to mention Ben? Do you think if he was any lower on the totem pole he’d still be with this team, regardless of whether he was charged or not the second time? What about Ward’s DUI? Let’s not pretend the Steelers are paragons of virtue.

  • Bob Loblaw

    Yeah, and switching sides isn’t ever called an easy thing to do.

  • Rob

    Adams was touted as a first round talent the year he was taken. Many considered him in the top twenty, or ahead of De Castro in value because he played left tackle in college as did Beachum. We have had several otherwise talented players perform marginally at best on our offensive line and I am more likely to attribute that to coaching and trying to learn an offense. We have had several coaches on the offensive line over the last few years and none have seemed to put out a quality product.

    The line has not been a strength since Faneca left and he was preceded by Grimm. The fact that several players that were all highly rated by several different groups have not done well here makes me think there maybe more than players abilities involved.

    Two other things to keep in mind are the fact that Adams was stabbed over the summer, and this past game was the first this year that Ben was not holding the ball all day. Getting rid of the ball will make all the linemen look better. Adams was also playing against some very good rushers and just recently made the change to the left. That is not an easy change to make.

    Adams is still a keeper and Beachum is a role player that may become something better if he continues to over achieve. At the very least if we acquire a top left tackle in the next draft Adams or Gilbert may slide to guard and the other to the right tackle spot. Beachum would then be the swing lineman and likely Foster and our back up center would complete a very good line for a long time to come.

  • charles

    Lets see if I can clarify this for you. 1) Adams is stoned. 2) two people line up in front of him 3) the game is moving too fast for someone with a cloudy mind. 4) by the time he decides who to block the whistle has already blown and Ben is on the ground. 5) if he is going to play like that it would be better for the Steelers if he wasn’t wearing black and gold. 6) I don’t hate the ravens or the benGals but they are in our way to get to the playoffs and it is totally logical to give them a confused player.

  • charles

    Steeltown here is a small and a little unfair comparison. Walter Jones never allowed a sack his first 7 years in the league. I will give a little to the argument of being young and inexperienced. But to just stand there not knowing what to do is not a good sign.I hope Adams is stoned because you need to have at least a little instinct for your position. Everyone can’t be Walter Jones., but Adams surpassed his career negatives in 4 games.

  • charles

    The best line we can put out is usually dependent on consistency. I think we have the first eight games to decide but then we have to stick to our guns. Otherwise history will not be on the Steelers side.

  • charles

    Last year he took a lot of chances, Rainey, Adams, and Taamu. This year he went geek and it looks like the results are MUCH BETTER.

  • HiVul

    I think that if we make a move at RT it would only come from a late round draft pick or a free agent. The Steelers aren’t very deep with talent and we have a lot of old players on defense.

    When I look at what our team needs are likely to be, I see a more pressing concern at these positions: NT and maybe DE depending on Kiesel and Hood’s situation, LT, WR (assuming Sanders leaves) possibly a 2nd TE to go with Heath, an heir apparent to Clark at FS, another young CB we can develop to play opposite Cortez Allen. With Gilbert, Beachum and Adams who could all still develop into a RT I’d hope that they prioritize those other positions first.

  • HiVul

    You seriously think he’s stoned during the games?

  • 4-12

    I always thought that if Mike adams doesn’t do well they would put gilbert at LT and beach at RT

  • Josh Knepshield

    Im just saying that we care more about our players off the field issues. The bengals dont hold that as high of importance. Adam Jones was just arrested so yeah he has been in trouble and he is still with the bengals.

  • Mike Carroll

    I like the idea of getting some work in for Adams at TE. We know he can be a good run blocker so why not put him out there instead of Paulson for specific running plays. He’ll have plenty of time to work on his craft at LT, but right now he can help the team out at TE until Spaeth returns.

  • 20Stoney

    “The problem is when you don’t know who your best five are.”

    Exactly. My point is that after preseason, practices, and 5 regular season games, they should know who their best are.

  • steeltown

    He’s allowed fewer sacks than some others along the OL, I think DeCastro and Beachum have both allowed fewer than him, but I believe Adams is blamed for only 2sacks this season

  • Bell Cow

    Great article. The Steelers can’t just allow a young 2nd round pick to ride the bwnch . I think his skil set is similar to OG Alex Boone with San Francisco. Similar size and both better run blockers than pass blockers. I’d like to see Adams compete with Foster at LG.

  • Riverstko

    I dont like the idea of using an o lineman as a tight end. It makes the play very obvious for the opp. defense to figure out, Hey Everybody, Its A Running Play! Unless its goal to go. Why take out a TE there a weapon keep the te in, keep the opp. defenses guessing. We need to be more tricky and less obvious with the offense play calling.

  • MC

    Beachum played well enough against Jets but I look at who Adams went against in the last couple of games in which he was embarrassed in – Jared Allen and Julius Peppers. Can we honestly say Beachum would handle those two guys any better than Adams?
    I think the coaching staff need to find out for sure who they are gonna go with and stick to it. If Adams has more upside and future at LT then we should stick with him and learn to send out RBs to chip the DE if he’s struggling. If he struggles too much then bring Beachum back in.

    What I’m saying is Adams could very well have played at the same level or maybe even better than Beachum against the Jets D line, lets just see what Beachum can do against a Jared Allen type rusher before we lock him in at LT for the rest of the year.

    Also, dress one more lineman! We have guys that go down in pre game warmups and we average an injury a game to that unit. I don’t want to see another Titans game because we don’t have adequate backups.