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Steelers Letting Tackle Situation Play Itself Out

The Pittsburgh Steelers are letting things play out at the offensive tackle positions since it is early in the process.

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Pittsburgh Steelers OT Broderick Jones
Pittsburgh Steelers OT Broderick Jones at OTAs, May 21, 2024 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — When the Pittsburgh Steelers picked Troy Fautanu in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft, it naturally raised questions for Dan Moore Jr. and Broderick Jones since Fautanu had started almost entirely at left tackle at Washington while playing a bit of left guard. On Tuesday, not much changed from when the Steelers took the field in Buffalo. 

Broderick Jones confirmed that he is playing both sides at right and left tackle while starting Tuesday on the right side. Meanwhile, Dan Moore Jr. still does not feel comfortable at right tackle, meaning he will be exclusively playing left tackle. With Fautanu getting work at right tackle in rookie minicamp, this could signal a clear direction for the team at both tackle spots, but it does not seem like a slam dunk.

“At the end of the day, football is football. That’s right side or left side, it don’t matter,” Jones said. “You just have to be prepared to play wherever. They still have be swinging both ways right now just like last year. We just have to wait for the season to get here and see what’s really set in stone.”

However, when it comes to Moore, it is more about an issue of comfort on the right side. Moore has tried to play right tackle in the past, even in a preseason game in 2023, but the results have been negative. That led Moore to stick exclusively in at left tackle. 

“I don’t know,” Moore said on the prospect of playing right tackle. “I would probably feel the exact same way I felt last year. Not everyone can play both sides. The people who can are really blessed and athletic people. But I do whatever they tell me.”

Of course, Moore and Jones kicking it off with the first team does not signal everything for someone like Fautanu. Mike Tomlin downplayed where the offensive linemen started playing on the first day of OTAs. Three months are left before the team gets into the nitty gritty of preparing for the regular season to kick off. That leaves the staff with plenty of room to experiment.

I‘m not overly concerned about it at this juncture,” Tomlin said. “We’re developing skills relative to our position, so left and right is less and less important. Same things are going on at corner. DJack [Donte Jackson] and Joey[Porter] flipped a little bit today. Others flip a little bit. Particularly this time of year, we haveto be open to flopping people to not become one-dimensional in terms of right and left. So that we give ourselves the flexibility to put our best people on the grass when it’s appropriate. But it’s not appropriate right now. We’re in the infancy of this thing. And so, you know, that’s that.”

Moving forward, Jones might flip to left tackle, and Fautanu will likely get looks against the first team at some point. But Jones did not start the season last year. Neither did Joey Porter Jr. on the other side of the football. Starting as a rookie with the Steelers is hard for any rookie, and they must earn it to get the week one starting role.

Fautanu can expect mentorship from both Jones and Moore. The latter is excited to help any young players who come into the locker room, even if it threatens his starting gig. Moore views the league as a business and mentored Jones in 2023. He will try to help Fautanu in a similar way in 2024. That type of camaraderie and team spirit among the players is what makes the Steelers a strong team.