LATROBE, PA (93.7 The Fan) – Trying to make Kendrick Green a starting center was one of the worst personnel decisions Mike Tomlin has made as Steelers head coach. Green said on Thursday, he didn’t want to do it either.
“I think I will be a lot better at guard,” Green said after Day 3 of Steelers Training Camp. “To be honest with you, I didn’t like playing center.”
Pretty big revelation from the second-year offensive lineman. In his final year, Ben Roethlisberger not only played with an undersized center, but one who didn’t want to be there.
It wasn’t that Green lacked effort, he played and practiced as hard as anyone. It was obvious to most he just wasn’t an NFL starting center. The 2021 third-round pick said the outside criticism didn’t bother him because he said only the people in the room understand what really was going on. He did learn that even though he was smaller and inexperienced at the position, only results matter in the pros.
“Nobody really cares about your excuses, it’s the NFL,” Green said. “I did my best last year trying to compete, playing where I was at. It didn’t go as well as I wanted it to. Trying to do my best at guard.”
Now Green finds himself trying to unseat the likely starter at left guard Kevin Dotson. It was thought for most of OTAs and mini-camp Dotson would be the starter, but Green came on late and in the first two practices, each have gotten first-team reps.
“I come to work everyday and no one really cares about what happened last year,” Green said. “That goes for me and Dotson. Dot dealing with injury last year, that was unfortunate. Me playing out of position last year. Got to make the best of the situation and see who comes up on top.”
Green says he believes Tomlin has an idea in his head of who will start, but he doesn’t think he will share that with them. He believes this battle is going to go down to the wire.
“I think it keeps a little more edge between me and Dotson,” Green said. “Dot is my boy still at the end of the day. We are going to be professionals about it and we both want to be the starter.”
Green believes the line didn’t play as well as it should have last year. There are a couple new starters in James Daniels and Mason Cole and a new position coach in Pat Meyer. Cole comes from Minnesota and takes over for Green at center. Green says Cole brings an energy to the room. That the 6’5”, 298-pound Cole was a good signing.
Just in his second season, Green believes the line will be improved. He also admits we really won’t be able to see if they have, or how much they have, until they put the pads on starting Monday.