There are few current members of the Pittsburgh Steelers who are as polarizing as offensive tackle Mike Adams. Perhaps ‘polarizing’ isn’t the right word because there are few fans on the side of keeping Adams on this roster any longer.
By now you know the story of Adams. Drafted in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft, Adams was believed to have had first round talent so when he was there in the second, the 6’7″ 323lb Buckeye was chosen by the Steelers. Part of the reason that Adams slipped is because of a positive test for marijuana.
Knowing it was going to cost him money, he asked for a meeting with the Steelers and tried to convince them he would give them everything he had and would stay out of trouble as well. His plea worked and he became a Steeler.
Now entering his third year, Adams has been unable to keep his vow on either level. His play has been sub-par, especially his pass protection and he was stabbed in a late night incident prior to camp last year. While the stabbing certainly wasn’t his fault, questioning why he was out in the early morning hours certainly is. All three suspects were acquitted by the way and one is now suing Adams.
Last season Adams got the start in the first four games of the regular season at left tackle and to say his play was poor would be nice. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was sacked 15 times in those four games and it was so bad that Adams was inactive in week five.
Adams is now more than a week into his third training camp with the Steelers and it isn’t going much better than it has the past two seasons. In a pass protection drill against rookie outside linebacker Howard Jones, Adams was beaten on two straight plays and struggled the rest of the session. This has been fairly typical of his week to this point.
No one can deny the fact that Adams is a very powerful run blocker, but he cannot be one-dimensional and expect to make it in the NFL.
So what are the options if the Steelers are considering cutting Mike Adams before the season starts? First of all, the current group of guys battling Adams for his spot are young and/or just as poor in pass protection. Rookie Chris Elkins has looked good but is he not, at this point anyway, a potential top seven lineman.
2014 draft pick Wesley Johnson has been a victim of his own abilities as the team is putting him at all three positions on the line which means it may be hard for him to be good enough at the tackle spot. Veteran Guy Whimper is a capable back-up but it’s clear he is much better as an interior back-up rather than a starter or top reserve at tackle. Recall if you will that Whimper was one of the worst offensive tackles in the league in terms of pass protection when he was in Jacksonville.
The only other option is that the Steelers may be looking for a veteran offensive tackle who could be released in a cost-cutting move by his current team. This is essentially how Fernando Velasco was available after Maurkice Pouncey went down in the opener last season.
That’s a bit of a gamble but one guy who could be there is Michael Roos as my colleague Chris pointed out earlier this week.
With limited possibilities I feel pretty confident when I tell you that Mike Adams will be a Steeler for at least one more year. This doesn’t mean things won’t happen between now and the beginning of the season though because they could. Either way Adams will more than likely be the top reserve at offensive tackle in 2014.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteelDad and the website @SCBlitz. Check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/steelcityblitz and on Fancred.com. You can hear him weekly during the season on Trib-Live Radio.