Changing up the O-Line?

By: Jonathan Clark


Change has certainly been the theme of this 2020 off-season. Teams are adapting to new rules put in place to ensure the safety and health of not only the players, but everyone associated with the team at that particular team’s facility. As we are all probably aware, due to COVID 19, players and coaches have been holding meetings virtually, not being able to physically engage with one another face to face. A change that seems simple and is needed throughout the NFL, but one that is still going to be an adjustment in more ways than one.


This change affects the amount of time that each player on the roster gets to get a look at the playbook, share time with teammates, new and old, building team chemistry throughout the off-season. While this may not affect veteran players as much, the “new guys” walking into the building might have a harder time adjusting to their new NFL homes with the limited time spent at the facilities. What does this mean exactly? The answer to that question is for sure still up in the air, but hypothetically, we could see some players have to step up into a bigger role in 2020. 


The Pittsburgh Steelers announced that last year’s starting LT Matt Feiler is making the transition to guard and is listed as the team’s starting RG entering the 2020 year. I wouldn’t call this a surprising move considering the amount of confidence they have in Feiler throughout that locker room and the fact that fan favorite RT Zach Banner was waiting for his opportunity behind Feiler. The only thing that I question with this move was that the Steelers had just recently signed veteran guard Stephen Wisniewski to a two-year contract back in March for what I assumed would be the starting RG position opposite LG David DeCastro


"Steelers RT Zach Banner relishing his role as fan favorite"


Now, obviously it is early and off-season depth charts don’t typically remain the same throughout the preseason process, but there is room to question if this change has anything to do with this move. Maybe the comfort level that Feiler has with the playbook given his experience with it, gave the coaching staff more confidence calling his number on Sundays. Or maybe I am just reading too much into this and they had this plan all along and brought in Wisniewski to play the role that former offensive lineman B.J. Finney had played for us the past couple of years before signing with Seattle this off-season. Kind of a guy who you can squeeze into multiple positions on the O-Line and have confidence that the job will get done. While I don’t have the answers, if in fact the change this off-season led to this decision, do you think we will see more like it to come? 


PITTSBURGH, PA – AUGUST 18: Stephen Wisniewski #61 of the Philadelphia Eagles in action during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on August 18, 2016 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)


Do you think the change in this off-season forced the Steelers hand to make this move? Let us know how you feel by commenting below!


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