Philip takes a left turn

Marvin Philip (Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

Marvin Philip's work at left guard could spell the end of Chukky Okobi's tenure with the Steelers.

While neither Sean Mahan or Chukky Okobi has truly impressed in their battle for the starting center position for the Pittsburgh Steelers, second-year pro Marvin Philip never was able to get himself into a position to be mentioned as being in the mix for the position.

But Philip, a sixth-round draft pick in 2006, may be in the mix more than many thought.

The Steelers took an extended look at Philip at left guard in Sunday night's 27-13 preseason victory over Philadelphia, meaning they are likley thinking about what his possible role could be on game days if they were to release, say Okobi, in their next round of cuts.

"It was more nerve-wracking for me than anything because I have never played guard before," said Philip. "I was trying to have fun and not think about what they're thinking. I was just trying to make the best out of every oportunity they give me."

A 2005 All-America selection, Philip was a two-year starter at center for California, where he helped pave the way for a 2,000-yard rusher in 2004 (J.J. Arrington), and two 1,000-yard runners in 2005 (Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett).

The 6-1, 307-pound Philip found himself on foreign ground against the Eagles when he lined up at left guard with the second-team unit after just two days of practice there.

"It's a lot different because there's a lot of space in front of you," Philip said. "You don't have a guy over you. In a sense, it's easier, because you don't have to worry about snapping the ball between your legs and then blocking somebody. But that's all I've been used to because I never played anywhere else. It was change for me. The last two days when I was practicing at left guard, I was trying to get adjusted, trying to figure out a stagger stance and all of that. But I thought I played well."

But did he play well enough to push the loser of the battle for the starting spot – likely Okobi – off the roster?

"I don't know. I guess we'll see when they look at film," Philip said. "I did the best I could and it was new for me. I felt like I responded well, but it's a lot different when you look at film, so we'll see."

Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter

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