PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 9: Hines Ward #86 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates his touchdown with Trai Essex #79 against the Tennessee Titans during the game on October 9, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Titans 38-17. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
One day down, one offensive line permutation in place.
Affixed with a heavily emphasized "subject to change" tag, veteran Trai Essex opened the Steelers' minicamp at right tackle, with Marcus Gilbert opening at left tackle. It's highly likely at some point over the next two days rookie Mike Adams will get reps with the first time at either or both tackle positions.
But for now, he'll fight his way up to that position.
Post-Gazette reporter Gerry Dulac quoted Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin as saying, "We're going to do things to put them in situations to see how they respond. I wouldn't read into it, particularly football in shorts. We're going to put them in situations against good people just for exposure and learn more about them. That's down the line when you start reading into what group they're taking snaps with. That's going to be more of a Latrobe type of thing."
Maurkice Pouncey (center), Willie Colon (left guard) and Ramon Foster (right guard) rounded out the Football-in-Shorts First-Team offensive line, meaning rookie David DeCastro joined Adams in watching the first team work.
It's a certainty DeCastro will assume the right guard position at some point very soon, and will likely remain there through Week 1 and probably for the next 12 years.
That shouldn't downplay the roles of Essex or Foster this year. The fact they are in those first team positions (whether or not fully clothed) shows they opened a step ahead of OT Jonathan Scott and OG Doug Legursky, respectfully.
If the Steelers had the depth it now has at offensive line, they may have been able to win a few more games the last few seasons.
Considering they've been to the playoffs in three of the last four seasons, and have won two AFC championships and a Super Bowl, it's a pretty good thing.