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Spencer Anderson Could Be the Answer at Backup Center



Steelers OL Spencer Anderson

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers second-year offensive lineman Spencer Anderson confirmed at OTAs that he’s playing almost exclusively on the interior this year and did not work much at tackle. Anderson is getting reps at both guard spots and center.

“I mainly worked at center and guard (this offseason),” Anderson said. “I’ve been told to focus more on guard this year, as well. I am still snapping, quarterback-center exchange. But as far as live reps, I haven’t took any yet in OTAs.”

Despite being a versatile lineman, who played all five positions on the offensive line at Maryland, the Steelers listed Anderson as an offensive tackle last season. It appears that the Steelers are either really comfortable with their tackle depth or see true potential in Anderson as a versatile interior player.

The Steelers are also thin at center behind projected plug-and-play rookie Zach Frazier. Nate Herbig only has 49 career snaps at the position, so it’s a wise move to try to mold Anderson as a fallback option at center.

Spencer Anderson got reps at center last year in training camp and the preseason. He started five games at center at Maryland. Anderson scored a 9.35 Relative Athletic Score (RAS) out of a possible 10.00 when coming out of Maryland, which ranked 91st out of 1,393 guards from 1987 to 2023.

Pittsburgh Steelers Spencer Anderson

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Spencer Anderson at the team’s first OTAs session, May 21, 2024 – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Anderson has adjusted well to Arthur Smith’s offense. It’s something he has a little familiarity with, as Anderson played in Smith’s offense in the East-West Shrine Bowl in 2023. Smith, who was the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons at the time, served as the supervisor for the East Team.

“I was with this offense during the Shrine Bowl as a draftee. I know this is a run-heavy offense,” Anderson said. “I’m kind of familiar with it, being with the Shrine Bowl. But definitely honing in on the pass-blocking techniques.

“Obviously, I know we’re a run-first type of team. And I feel like I’m more of a run-blocker as it is. I’ve been working on pass (blocking). You know, just hand usage. I know (offensive line coach) Pat [Meyer] preaches that a lot. Independent hands, two hands, whatever it may be.”

Anderson goes up against some of the league’s best in Cam Heyward, T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith on a daily basis. That iron sharpening iron experience is something that he appreciates, as it only makes him better.

“Practicing against them the whole year, you kind of know what their (favorites moves) are. Obviously, they’re guys who can switch it up snap in and snap out. “… It’s getting me better as well as them. Just mixing up my set, mixing up my hand-timing. Obviously, those guys are proven in this league. And I want to get there one day. Going against them is definitely helping me.”

Anderson is only heading into his second year, but he’s made sure to pass along wisdom to rookie first-round pick Troy Fautanu.

“For sure, at OTAs he’s been next to me at right tackle,” Anderson said when asked if he’s been mentoring Fautanu. “He’s kind of just, ‘Hey, we’re good right here, we’re good right here?’ Just giving him tidbits here and there. Trying to give him everything I know. Obviously, he’s still getting everything right. Trying to learn as he goes.”

Nick Farabaugh contributed reporting from Pittsburgh.