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Looks Like Essex Could Replace Scott at Left Tackle


It sounds like another change is coming on the offensive line, but this time not due to injury. The change of course comes from the play the last few minutes on Sunday when left tackle Jonathan Scott missed a block to allow Mewelde Moore get tackled for a safety.

He was pulled, and in the final drive that almost allowed the Steelers to pull off the win, he was replaced by Trai Essex.

“We’re still in the process of evaluating [Sunday’s] performance and putting together a formula for success this week,” Tomlin said. “A lot of things are involved in that. Personnel matchups are part of that. We’ll address that at the appropriate time. I’m just not ready to have that kind of discussion at this juncture.”

Essex replaced Scott on offense after Scott allowed the safety and played pretty well at the LT spot in that last drive. Officially the Steelers said that Scott had a “stinger,” but Tomlin Monday didn’t mention him among his injured players.

“He was less than 100 percent from a physical standpoint and we felt like Trai gave us the best opportunity to navigate the ball downfield,” Tomlin said.

If Essex is the starter Thursday night against the Panthers, he would become the third different starting left tackle this season. Max Starks went on injured reserve after the first Bengals game, and tt also would be the sixth different line combination this season and the second demotion.

Bottom line, if Essex is playing better right now, then he should be the starter. Scott has had his shot, and gave up a play that in the end gave up two points in a game where the Steelers would have been able to tie it at the end, but down five were forced to go for a touchdown instead of hitting a chip shot field goal, going into OT, and getting a shot to win it there.

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. DrGeorge

    December 22, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    J. Scott was clearly not getting the job done. Whether replacing him with T. Essex will be an improvement is anyone’s guess at this point. Essex doesn’t have the greatest footwork and he is vulnerable to speed rushers. But he is a better run blocker than Scott. Against Carolina, Essex should do fine, and a change at LT will not disrupt the timing of line play as much as changing a guard might do.

    What I don’t like is the rationale for the change — i.e., Scott’s missed block. Scott should be replaced for his over all play, not one missed assignment. And blame for the safety should be directed at the play calling, not Scott or Moore. That running play was a blunder, pure and simple. That would be true no matter who was playing LT or who was running the ball.

    Notice that Tomlin dodged the question regarding his evaluation of Sunday’s performance. It was prudent of him to do that, but consider what lies behind his ‘no comment’ — his silence suggests that he knows perfectly well what went wrong on Sunday, but he doesn’t want to air his dirty linen in public. In other words, he saw what we saw. Now let’s hope he does something about it.

    The next two games give the Steelers a chance to tune up for the playoffs by fixing the problems we all recognize, including a greater emphasis on the rushing game. The move of Essex to LT appears to be a step in that direction.

    • Jay

      December 23, 2010 at 6:52 pm

      I couldn’t agree more with your assessment, Doc especially about Mike’s perceived silence on the said question. What I can’t understand is that it seems there is constantly and continually something going on regarding BA and his offensive philosophy that we gripe about on here, that Tomlin also apparently sees as well and then it happens all over again, time and time again. I know the BA apologists like the runner of this site will point at our record but I opine that Tomlin needs to do more because it really seems that when he does something or we say, “Well, Mike just said this or did that during the prep week, now we’ll see it fixed!” and then after a few games, it seems like BA very sneakily goes back to the nonsense. Some of that has to fall on the head coach for allowing that type of insidious pseudo-usurping of authority to take place! Yeah maybe the insertion of the Road grader at tackle is a strong implied philosophical alteration toward balance. But I strongly get the impression that BA has ulterior agenda(s) and, in his heart of hearts, knows he has BB on his side and could, for lack of a better term, care less what Tomlin says—to a greater or lesser degree of course. What do you think, Doc? Is it just me or does it seem like Tomlin is always seemingly and nobly biting his tongue on the podium to subsequently make attempted adjustments only to have BA slowly ween back in the pass in lieu of the run and obvious balance? If it is that, Tomlin seriously has to answer for letting an OC dictate philosophy when everyone else, including management and administration, wants something different. (Hey, Matt, I’ve been drinking caffeine free all day!)

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