#Steelers OL coach Mike Munchak says former starter Mike Adams competing with Guy Whimper for swing tackle spot.— Alan Robinson (@arobinson_Trib) August 12, 2014
The real question isn't about who the Steelers' swing tackle is - long thought to be the third-year Mike Adams over the veteran Guy Whimper. It's if the loser of this competition will be on the Steelers' roster this season.
And that's a fair question to ask. Clearly, Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak will want to keep as many offensive linemen as he can, but he's going to have a tough argument to keep extra, just as every position coach will this season.
Lock in Kelvin Beachum, Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro and Marcus Gilbert. Add Cody Wallace to that, and it would seem both Adams and Whimper would be next in line. That would give the Steelers eight offensive linemen. Whimper can play tackle or guard and Wallace can play center or guard. The team has been working rookie Wesley Johnson inside and out, and while reports on him haven't been the best, the team has to consider, at some point, keeping one of the fifth-round picks it takes.
They cut cornerback Terry Hawthorne last year, and Johnson and CB Shaquille Richardson were this year's additions from the fifth round and both would appear on the bubble as the Steelers enter their dual-squad scrimmage with the Buffalo Bills.
Keeping Adams, Whimper and Johnson would give the Steelers nine offensive linemen, and while that's not impossible, the team has kept as few as seven in past years. Considering the variation the Steelers intend to display in terms of offensive sets, keeping more linemen involved and prepared can only serve as a positive thing.
But the youth of the team is on the defensive side of the ball, and with tough competitions at defensive end, outside linebacker and safety, it would appear the team's final few spots would address one if not more of those spots.
Watching Whimper and Adams as the pass rush-heavy Bills invade Latrobe will tell a lot of the story. Munchak may have to write the final chapter without a happy ending for one of them.