Since Mike Adams left the game against the Cleveland Browns, the Steelers have been awfully quiet as to the severity of his injury. Considering the moves made yesterday, Adams' status finds itself becoming even more vague.
Several weeks ago, when David DeCastro was cleared to begin practicing with the team, he stated that he was uncertain when he would be able to return to the lineup. This uncertainty led many to believe that he might not return at all. This was all before the Steelers lost back-to-back games against division foes, and their starting right tackle.
Adding even more intrigue to this scenario, is the loss of Marcus Gilbert to injured/reserve. Prior to the loss versus the Browns, Gilbert was reported to have returned to practice, at least on a limited basis. With no official details coming from the Steelers orgainization, one has to question what could possibly have gone so wrong, that now can he no longer practice; he can't participate at all until 2013.
The fact that the Steelers felt strongly enough about their situation that they gave up on Gilbert in 2012, would naturally lead one to assume that Adams' injury must not be as severe as once feared. If Adams is unable to participate against the Ravens, Max Starks would be the only tackle on the roster for the Steelers, let alone the field. Surely, this must mean that Adams will be able to play. There is only one problem with that train of thought. His name is John Malecki.
Malecki, a guard promoted from the practice squad for the second time this season, was given the seat vacated by the release of David Gilreath. While cutting Gilreath breathes a little bit of hope into the return of Antonio Brown, the signing of Malecki seems to make little sense at all, when what the Steelers need right now are tackles. Unless Malecki's signing had less to do with Mike Adams injury, and more to do with DeCastro's.
Perhaps DeCastro is not 100 percent ready to go, but is showing progress. While many are speculating about his chances of starting on Sunday, his odds of playing are about as good as Adams'. Perhaps, Malecki was signed to provide insurance at guard, against possible re-aggravated Colons; or to provide depth at guard when Ramon Foster moves to tackle. I'm sure Kelvin Beachum is wondering where he fits into all of this.
Beachum was asked to fill in at right tackle when Adams fell; however, he never made this roster with intentions of playing tackle. He was supposed to be a guard/center project. His size prevented him from being a NFL possibility at his native position. If he is considered a guard, the additions of DeCastro and Malecki, make a total of 6 guards, when you also add in Doug Legursky, Willie Colon, and Foster. That is six guards, and only two tackles. Granted, Foster and Beachum both have experience at right tackle, but Steeler fans already know that experience doesn't guarantee results.
If Adams injury were season-threathening, he would have been the logical choice to IR; however, when Gilbert was back to limited practice, does this mean that Adams still has a better chance of returning to form than Gilbert? As the week progresses, more detailed reports will be divulged; filling in the pieces of this puzzle. Maybe by then it will be a bit clearer why the Steelers chose to bring in two guards, to replace two injured tackles.