When a starting right tackle like Marcus Gilbert is suspended for 4-games, it has a ripple effect along the offensive line. Chris Hubbard, who has been great this year spelling Gilbert throughout his hamstring injuries, will now replace Gilbert full-time, but this vacates Hubbard’s usual duties on game day.
Hubbard, who was also the team’s backup swing tackle, was also used primarily in those run-heavy packages where he acted as an extra tight end. With him being forced into the starting role, Mike Tomlin said, in his weekly press conference, B.J. Finney will be the next man up in Hubbard’s former role as extra tight end.
This is not new to Finney, who filled this role earlier this season, but Tomlin praised his work as a tight end, stating he might be equally as good as Hubbard in this capacity.
The one vacancy Finney, who is a backup interior lineman, cannot fill is the team’s backup swing tackle position. This duty will likely fall on the shoulders of either Matt Feiler, or Jerald Hawkins. Considering Hawkins has yet to be active for a regular season game in 2017, logic would state the team would move to Feiler as the ‘next man up’ if something were to happen to Hubbard or Alejandro Villanueva on their respective sides of the offensive line.
If fans are concerned about Hubbard not being the eligible receiver when the Steelers go into their ‘heavy’ sets, think again, the position is in good hands with Finney at the helm. However, as for the backup tackle position, well, let’s just all hope and pray nothing happens to the starters for the next four weeks.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest on all things black-and-gold as they prepare for the Green Bay Packers in Week 12.