The Steelers assemble on the fields at Saint Vincent College for their final training camp practices today and tomorrow, which should feature the long-anticipated unveiling of their starting offensive line.
Four of the five blocks have been in place all of training camp -- without official decree -- and the fifth might be installed this afternoon at center. What coach Mike Tomlin described after the first week of camp as a hotly contested competition could be over.
Sean Mahan, who started at the position last season, started the first preseason game and veteran Justin Hartwig, pictured right, who came over from Carolina, started Thursday night against Buffalo.
The coaching staff's plan was to pick their starter this week and have him open in Minnesota Saturday, when starters will get their most extensive playing time of the preseason.
"Evidently, they're going to try to figure it out after they break down this game," Hartwig said after the Bills defeated the Steelers, 24-21, in Toronto.
Hartwig had the edge coming in because he's bigger than Mahan, and the coaches believe he can handle the bigger nose tackles better than did Mahan last season.
No real competition developed during camp at right tackle, where Willie Colon will hold sway for the second consecutive season. And, no, he won't move to guard. Max Starks never delivered the knockout blow he needed to get the job back that he held in 2005 and 2006 before losing it to Colon last summer.
Not only did Chris Kemoeatu get no competition at left guard for the opening created when Alan Faneca signed with the New York Jets, he has been impressive since he came off the physically unable to perform list. There was never any question that Marvel Smith would play left tackle and Kendall Simmons right guard.