Tweaks (not moves) Tomlin could make with Steelers


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Mike Tomlin said he will not use these final three games to experiment or to try to evaluate younger players heading into the 2014 season.

But if he were to do that, there are moves he could make without taking away from efforts to win down the stretch.

The most logical move would be to keep Mike Adams at left tackle. They have seen Kelvin Beachum enough to know he can play the position. They need to know if Mike Adams can handle it. This does not go into the experiment category as such because Adams was their starting left tackle for the first four games of the season before he failed and Beachum replaced him.

The best outcome for the Steelers would be if Adams becomes a capable left tackle. That way, Beachum could return to being Superman, their top backup at every position on the offensive line. In fact, once his knee heals, the experiment they could undertake is to put him at center for a few games.

Another change they could make would be to return Cortez Allen to his starting job at cornerback. They know what they have in William Gay, it might be time to get a few more snaps out of Allen. This would not so much be an experiment either because they opened with him as their starting cornerback.

A third move that might raise a few issues would be to start rookie Jarvis Jones at outside linebacker and sit LaMarr Woodley. And if Woodley is going to return for 2014, taking the next three games off can only save him another injury because he doesn't need the reps.

They drafted Markus Wheaton with the idea that Emmanuel Sanders likely will leave as a free agent after the season. They could start Wheaton or at least play him more even though Sanders is having his most productive season.

Among other moves: Al Woods for Ziggy Hood at defensive end, or play Hebron Fangupo at nose tackle and move Steve McLendon to end.

McLendon, in their scheme, seems more suited for end than nose tackle. That was the case of another player who started at nose tackle one season for them and switched to defensive end, Kimo von Oelhoffen. Drafting Casey Hampton in 2001 made that switch easy.

They do not know what they might get in the 2014 draft, but in the meantime they could take a look at Fangupo, who is built like a classic nose tackle at 6 feet and a listed 324 pounds.


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