With Pittsburgh Steelers left tackle Dan Moore sidelined with a knee injury, 2023 first-round pick Broderick Jones got his first-career start in the 17-10 Week 5 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.
Moore returned to practice Monday and remains atop the depth chart, with the assumption being the 25-year-old reclaims his place in Week 7 against the Los Angeles Rams. Head coach Mike Tomlin, however, said Tuesday it’s too early in the week to make a definitive decision on Moore’s status for this Sunday against Los Angeles.
“That’s a big if,” Tomlin said, via Pro Football Talk. “We’ve got some work ahead of us. He’ll be given an opportunity to show his progress over the course of the week and we’ll make that decision at the appropriate time. It doesn’t behoove us to make hypothetical statements at the early portions of the week. He looked pretty good yesterday. We’ll see where the week leads us.”
Jones, the former Georgia standout, performed well in place of Moore, surrendering just one pressure and zero sacks. Tomlin came away impressed with the 22-year-old’s performance.
“The in-helmet perspective of play that you can’t get anywhere else but playing,” Tomlin said. “He hasn’t been deficient in learning in any of the other venues. It’s just a process and opportunity.”
Moore, meanwhile, has struggled this season. In 187 offensive snaps, Moore has earned a 29.3 overall grade from Pro Football Focus — one of the worst grades among offensive tackles in the NFL this season.
Steelers rookies looking to earn more playing time
Along with Jones, another Steelers rookie, cornerback Joey Porter Jr., is looking to make a case at receiving more playing time. The second-round pick out of Penn State played a career-high 28 snaps in the win over the Ravens, as veterans Patrick Peterson and Levi Wallace continued their slow starts to the season.
Tomlin isn’t quite ready to anoint Porter the starter just yet.
“Several variables are at play,” Tomlin said, via TribLIVE. “What it is they do and the quality with which they do it, and it’s also the opportunity. Such is always the case in team play. Things and decisions don’t happen in a vacuum. You can be pleased with the progress of a player in the terms of the direction he’s been moving, but the opportunity has to be there.”
“We challenge these guys not to be patient. This is not a patient person’s business. It doesn’t behoove them to be patient. We ask them to work while they wait for their opportunity and put their readiness on display. Jones and Porter have done a really good job of that. We’ll wait for continued opportunities for them and check their progress as we move forward.”