On Monday’s edition of ‘DK’s Daily Shot of Steelers’ podcast, Pittsburgh sports reporter Dejan Kovacevic said he had “high hopes, past tense,” for Pittsburgh Steelers offensive guard Kevin Dotson coming into the 2021 campaign. “All the arrows were pointing up,” added Kovacevic, referencing the promise that the Louisiana product showed during his rookie year, in which he appeared in 13 games and made four starts.
But now Kovacevic is not nearly as high on the second-year player, after his “impeccable as it gets” source told him that the Steelers coaches were “plenty angry” with Dotson after “having his not having done anything, basically, over the offseason.”
Kovacevic says his source did not provide specifics, but went on to indicate that “the reason that the Steelers brought Trai Turner in for that first visit, a week before David DeCastro was released … had nothing to do with DeCastro. It had everything to do with Dotson.”
The implication, though, is that Dotson thought he could coast to a starting job, based on the potential he demonstrated last year—and a relative lack of other options at the guard position.
Indeed Dotson flashed tremendous potential during his rookie season. In fact, he was one of two Steelers named to PFF’s 2020 All-Rookie Team, overcoming his relatively low run-blocking grade by being “dominant” in pass protection.
On the other hand, Dotson’s rookie season had its ups and downs. He missed time with a shoulder injury and also spent time on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. For what it’s worth, he never found himself at the top of the depth chart at his position; when David DeCastro and Matt Feiler were healthy enough to play, they were the team’s starters.
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Kevin Dotson, His Trainer React to Kovacevic’s Report
Of course, DeCastro and Feiler are now gone, with the former having been released and the latter having signed a three-year contract with the Los Angeles Chargers in free agency.
With a clear path to a starting job at left guard, Dotson is working overtime to prepare for the upcoming season. At least that’s the message trainer Duke Manyweather sought to deliver on Dotson’s behalf:
Meanwhile, Dotson shrugged off the report with a tweet of his own …
… while Steelers beat writer Nick Farabaugh went on to say that “Kevin Dotson is not out of shape.”
Last but not least, Steelers right tackle Zach Banner couldn’t resist making light of the situation with a LOL tweet of his own.
Other Candidates to Play Guard for the Steelers in 2021?
Of course, figuring out who is going to play guard—not to mention who is going to play center—remains serious business for the Steelers, who need to find reliable options to protect a 39-year-old Ben Roethlisberger and open holes for rookie running back Najee Harris.
Dotson and free agent acquisition Trai Turner are the leading candidates at left and right guard, respectively, but there are other possibilities, thanks in part to the position flexibility of many of the team’s other linemen. It’s perhaps worth noting that former Chicago Bears starter Rashaad Coward ran with the first-team during OTAs and mandatory minicamp. Recently re-acquired interior offensive lineman B.J. Finney can also play guard, as can free agent acquisition Joe Haeg.
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