PITTSBURGH -- He won’t get any consideration when it is time for the Steelers players to vote for team MVP. But if the Steelers gave an award for most unsung player, Kelvin Beachum may have already locked it up.
He stepped in at center after Maurkice Pouncey went down in the season opener -- and played well especially considering Beachum did more snapping on the sidelines before entering the game than he had in the previous two weeks.
And the Steelers made it clear that Beachum will be at left tackle for the foreseeable future in two ways.
They didn't sign another tackle after placing Brown on injured reserve. The Steelers have also relieved Beachum of most of the backup responsibilities he had in case of an in-game injury along the offensive line.
“He’s the left tackle and he’s getting ready,” offensive coordinator Todd Haley said. “One thing about Kelvin is that every time we say he’s this, he shows us he can be something more.”
Translation: Beachum is considered more than just a stopgap at left tackle by the Steelers or a super sub as valuable as he is in that role.
Beachum’s ability to play every position makes it easy to forget that the 6-3, 303-pounder spent his career at SMU entrenched at left tackle.
Beachum started all 52 of his college games at left tackle, but it wasn’t until last Sunday that he opened an NFL game at that position.
He settled down after a skittish start, but it doesn’t get any easier for Beachum in his second game at left tackle.
“It’s going to be a nasty game, it’s going to be a violent game,” Beachum said. “We understand that, and we come in with the mindset that we have to out-physical and out-finish those guys and that has to be something we do on a consistent basis throughout the year.”
The Steelers will be fine at left tackle if Beachum surprises the coaches as he has done so often already in his young NFL career.
“That’s happened at every position. Now it’s left tackle,” Haley said of Beachum exceeding expectations. “This will be the biggest test to date but he’s working hard to get ready.”