The battle for LT between Max Starks and Mike Adams officially begins today. Now that Starks is off the PUP and will practice with the team, we'll get to see who's more ready to take over the position to start in week 1.
Like the article says, once Starks gets into his first contact and then sees how the knee reacts the next morning, we'll know better healed he really is.
So, if both players are healthy, who do you start in week 1 this year? Starks or Adams?
It might not be as clear cut as you think though, do you just throw Adams to the wolves and learn on the fly or do you let the veteran get in there to protect Ben until Starks has more practice time to learn?
Max Starks practiced for the first time since suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament seven months ago, while rookie Mike Adams returned to to practice after missing a week with a knee injury.
“They're valuable guys, and there's no question they need to be on the grass,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said. “Mike got back out there (Thursday) and we're looking forward to Max getting his hat in the ring.”
Both players are still working their way into game shape. Starks, who started training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, admitted Thursday he won't play in the Steelers' second pre-season game Sunday against Indianapolis at Heinz Field.
“Not even close,” he said. “This is a gradual immersion back into the offense.”
Starks had a light practice Thursday, just working out in individual drills. He is expected to practice in pads for the first time Friday. He said he is ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation, but won't know how well until he experiences some contact.
“It's a different intensity level once you put pads on,” said Starks. “Once you get that contact for real, and actually go through it, and see how your knee reacts the next day ... if there's swelling, if it's stiff, those are the biggest questions I'm looking forward to getting answered.”
Adams, the Steelers' second-round pick, endured a full padded practice and worked with the second-team at left tackle. He originally injured his knee in the Steelers' preseason game last Thursday againstPhiladelphia.
Adams said he and Starks worked out together while healing their injuries. The time together led to their agreement that the battle for the starting tackle spot can not be settled until they both participate in contact drills.
Coaches were impressed with Adams in the early stages of training camp. He earned the start in the preseason opener. But the second-round product from Ohio State struggled, allowing 2.5 sacks on 18 snaps.
His performance is one reason coaches are eager to see Starks in action.
“I'm still a long way away in my mind," Starks said. "There's a lot of things that obviously have to be put in order. I have to show enough progress before we get to that point.”
CBS Sports Pittsburgh