It had to happen sooner or later.
After all, the position shift information that Willie Colon volunteered on Wednesday, specifically his move from right tackle to left guard, is one that has been speculated upon since Colon’s arrival in Pittsburgh. It’s a move the Chicago Bears had been prepared to make less than a year ago when they pursued Colon as a free agent.
Better late than never.
It’s all about getting the best five offensive linemen on the field.
The Steelers have long said as much.
Since draft day they’ve apparently committed themselves to doing something about it.
“There’s a lot of money on the line, definitely,” Colon said, acknowledging a potential fivesome that would include two No. 1 picks (Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro), two No. 2 picks (Marcus Gilbert and Mike Adams) and the guy the Steelers paid handsomely not to go to Chicago.
“It’s definitely a move for the future,” Colon continued. “As Ben (Roethlisberger) gets older we definitely have to keep him upright. There’s been so much talk about his sacks that he’s been taking over the years. Whether it’s from him holding the ball or from us just not protecting well; he’s brought two championships here.
“We need to get some more. We need to bring some more back to the city and he’s definitely the guy that’s more than capable of doing it. But if we don’t keep him upright and throwing and doing what he does best it’s going to be a turbulent road for us.”
As intriguing an element in all of this as the Colon position shift is obvious to some of us is the migration of Colon to left guard rather than right guard.
Chris Kemoeatu’s old position was always perceived as the pulling guard position. And DeCastro, the No. 1 pick from Stanford, was the NCAA’s premier pulling guard last season. And Colon played tackle for as long as he did, in part, because departed OC Bruce Arians never thought Colon could pull.
“I disagree (that Arians thought that) because we had a play called ‘Tonto’ where I pulled (from right tackle),” Colon argued. “He wouldn’t call it a lot but at least it was in the playbook. That was enough for me.
“It was an option.”
It’ll be much more for new OC Todd Haley.
“They have me pulling,” Colon confirmed. “They have me moving. I think it’s going to go both ways. I think we’re going to be a lot more balanced this year. You should expect both of us (Colon and DeCastro) pulling. It should be good.
“I think we’re definitely going to run the ball a lot more. Coach Haley is coming in with the mindset that we’re going to be a lot more balanced team. Obviously, we have great receivers, everybody knows that. We have a great quarterback. But I also feel like we have a real physical line and we have great running backs.
“For us to be balanced I think you can expect a lot more play-action, a lot more of us flat getting after guys up front.”
Three-fifths of the O-line is now coming into focus, Colon at left guard, Pouncey at center and DeCastro at right guard.
“As of now that’s what it looks like, yes,” Colon said.
The status of the tackles remains unresolved.
Does Gilbert stay at right tackle or shift to left?
Does Adams’ future as the Steelers’ left tackle of the future commence next week?
“I don’t really know the rotation (at tackle) right now,’ Colon said.
He knows this much: He’s going to guard willingly.
“I like it,” he said. “It’s just a matter of me learning the verbiage and learning where I need to be to make this line better.
“My only issue I would have had was, ‘Don’t move me to left guard midway through (training) camp.’ I pride myself on being a mechanic and a technician. So if it was to happen do it right now when I have the time to learn and go through my mechanics.
“(The Steelers) honored that. I got the call right after the draft after we picked up DeCastro that I was going to move to guard. I have no problems with it. I’m taking it well. I like being there.
“The Bears wanted me as a guard. Since I’ve been here there’s always been speculation about me moving to guard. I’m not 6-foot-6 or 6-7. I’m just 6-3; big back, barrel chest, typical guard frame. I’ve never been against it. All I wanted was the time to learn the position.”
OTAs just got a whole lot more interesting.