After taking most of his snaps in training camp at right tackle, second-year offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum has taken reps at center this week. He said Thursday he expects to play center in the second preseason game Monday night in Washington, likely with the first-team offense, once starter Maurkice Pouncey is removed from the game.
Beachum, the team's top reserve at guard and tackle, is trying to add center to his repertoire. John Malecki is listed as the backup center, but if Malecki does not make the 53-man roster, the Steelers need a backup to Pouncey.
Last week, Pouncey played only two series before giving way to Malecki, who played with the other starting linemen into the second quarter. This week, it's Beachum's turn.
"I'm gearing up, getting ready for that," Beachum said.
Beachum, who started the final five games of last season at right tackle, said moving between tackle, guard and center is not an issue.
"That's not a problem," he said. "Right now, it's just getting comfortable at center. I played some guard last year. I've played tackle throughout camp. It's really just getting more comfortable at center and being able to see things. Things happen faster at center, at times, picking up stunts, things of that nature, so it's just understanding and being comfortable, seeing those things at the center position."
Early in his career, left guard Ramon Foster played guard and tackle. He said playing all three positions on the line is an impressive feat, especially for someone who has only been in the NFL for one year.
"That says a lot," Foster said. "It says he's a really good athlete, a smart kid, says he's a hard worker. Not many guys are willing to learn tackle, guard and center. He's doing it and he's doing well at it. He might have a [bad] snap or two here and there, but as far as assignments go he's on top of that."
A welcome sight
A moving crew from Pittsburgh was at Saint Vincent and the players were glad to see them. Workers were busy loading the Steelers' make-shift weight room on campus into moving trucks for a trip back to the South Side facility.
It was a sign that camp, which breaks Sunday, is almost over.
"It's always good to see the moving trucks come out here to pick up the weight equipment," Foster said. "But we're still in camp mode. Coach [Mike] Tomlin won't let us stray away from that."
In light of the injury scare for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in a practice with the Buccaneers, Foster said he prefers not to scrimmage other teams for that very reason. "When you have that type of situation, guys may or may not try to destroy a guy," he said. "When you work with your own teammates, they know the importance of the player you're protecting. Other teams might not understand that."... Foster expects offensive coordinator Todd Haley to try more outside zone-blocking against the Redskins. "That's been a focus this week," he said.
Ray Fittipaldo: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @rayfitt1.