Much to the dismay of Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, his team’s first official depth chart for the 2022 season has been released.
To Tomlin, the depth chart is as meaningless as the paper it’s written on, its submission an NFL mandate. Tomlin’s focus is on the weeks of work ahead that are needed to solidify it.
“Coach Mike Tomlin is nothing if not a follower of NFL rules, and so when the league requires him to submit a depth chart, he submits a depth chart,” Bob Labriola of Steelers.com wrote of the chart’s release on August 5.
“And based on his history, consumers of this information and/or those whose names are somewhere on it are advised to view it as something between meaningless and what Moses brought down from the mountain etched on stone tablets.”
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Labriola points out that anyone who’s been paying attention to the Steelers offseason so far shouldn’t be surprised by the players’ current positional order. It’s very fluid — after all, there are five weeks to go until the first regular season game.
Teams’ first depth charts at this point in the offseason are like the Hall of Fame game; they are not to be taken seriously. But who are we kidding? Diehard NFL fans love that kickoff draws closer with every bit of news — even meaningless depth charts.
Mike Tomlin is tending to the first quarterback competition in his 16 years as a head coach. We all know it’s Mitch Trubisky‘s job to lose, but that isn’t keeping Pittsburgh Steelers veteran Mason Rudolph from giving the battle his all, nor newcomer Kenny Pickett.
Pittsburgh’s order of quarterbacks remains unchanged since the first day of organized team activities (OTAs) back in May: Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph, Kenny Pickett and Chris Oladokun.
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“I think about every year we’ve been here, we’ve carried four guys into camp, and there’s been some rep management, things to address from that perspective,” Tomlin told reporters at the start of camp on July 26. “We got four quarterbacks, we generally run in three groups, so there’s some things that we manage from a reps standpoint.
“But again, that has been the case for the 15, 16 years that I’ve been here.”
Tomlin can downplay it all he wants, but this is the single most important process he’s had to manage in his career.
“I’ll say this because that’s the elephant in the room: We’re not going to micromanage or overmanage this quarterback competition,” said Tomlin. “The depth chart will not rest on every throw… We’re going to be a little more steady than that. I think it’s important, from a leadership standpoint, to not overmanage it, to not be too impulsive. That’s what I relayed to those guys, and our actions will continue to display that mindset.”
Guard Battle Royale
The order of the offensive line starters is also the same since OTAs began (left to right): Dan Moore Jr., Kevin Dotson or Kendrick Green, Mason Cole, James Daniels, and Chuks Okorafor.
Dotson and Green — two midround draft picks — are going head-to-head for the starting job at guard.
“[Kevin’s] still my boy at the end of the day,” Green said per TribLive’s Chris Adamski. “We’re going to be professionals about it.
“But we both want to be a starter.”
Green is transitioning from center, a position where he struggled as a rookie. Dotson has struggles of his own — staying healthy. Ankle injuries limited Dotson to just nine games last season.
“I feel great,” Dotson told All Steelers in June. “I’m confident in my ankles. I’m confident in being on the left side. I’m confident in knowing that I can learn the playbook. So, everything is coming together for me.”