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.