The Pittsburgh Steelers returned to training camp practice on Monday to continue working on the issues which made themselves evident during the preseason week one loss to the New York GIants, one of which was the development of depth along the offensive line.
Jim Wexell of Steel City Insider dropped two relevant pieces of news through his Twitter account, which will force line development even further up the priority list.
Cheadle carted awaywith apparent right knee injury. Was the favorite to win 9th OL spot.— James C Wexell (@jimwexell) August 12, 2013
The cart has seen plenty of field time during camp, although its use does not automatically mean severe as Marcus Gilbert was carted off after conditioning drills left him 'cramped' and 'winded'. However, after the lower leg epidemic which eliminated several offensive linemen in 2012, carts used for knee injuries rarely prove positive. The last lineman to ride the cart was Nik Embernate, an undrafted rookie standout whose preseason was cut short with knee ligament damage.
The second part of Wexell's tweet may come as an even bigger surprise than the injury. The Steelers are dangerously thin at the tackle positions outside of starters Gilbert and Mike Adams. Kelvin Beachum remains the utility infielder of the group, and John Malecki continues to look like a quality reserve guard who has been getting reps at center as well. However, Cheadle, who joined the Steelers practice squad late last season, is strictly an interior guy playing mostly guard and center in the loss to the Giants.
The team will have to await further evaluation before removing his name from roster consideration, but they will be forced to continue developing the rest of their young talent, especially tackles like Joe Long and Mike Farrell, or be stuck with veterans like Guy Whimper and D'Anthony Batiste.
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