PITTSBURGH — The Steelers will start Broderick Jones against the Green Bay Packers after a strong performance against the Titans. But it leaves Chuks Okorafor in flux. Why has Jones played at right tackle? There are two critical reasons for that. One is that Okorafor said something he should not have against the Jaguars.
“It was just something I said,” Okorafor said. “You know, just with the way the game was going last week, I said something I shouldn’t have said. Just being in year six, I can’t act out the way I was acting out. It was mostly that and nothing else. I don’t know what’s going to happen next week. I hope I’m going to be out there with the guys, but I don’t know, it’s not my call.”
However, the second reason is that the Steelers believe Dan Moore Jr. is significantly better at left tackle than right tackle. Of course, that does not mean Moore’s job is necessarily safe for the rest of the season, but he will not be playing there at right tackle. During his limited reps there in the preseason, he struggled. Meanwhile, Jones has picked it up naturally, even as a rookie, lending to thoughts that he could play there for the rest of the season to get playing time.
“Honestly, he’s significantly better at left (tackle) than he is at right,” head coach Mike Tomlin said.
The Steelers’ surprise right tackle against the Titans is now listed as the co-starter with Okorafor at right tackle. Jones is tied for Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded rookie tackle. Indeed, the team is starting to see his maturation process come through after an impressive first two starts, one at each tackle spot.
However, Moore has struggled after returning from his MCL injury. The team will have to decide just how much they will need to see from him, but it’s clear that the configuration with Moore at right tackle is not in the cards after some experimentation with it. Jones has played much better than Moore at right tackle when given the chance, and it seems likely that the Steelers will look to keep that lineup for the foreseeable future.