Willie Colon had a strange and unexpected ascent two years ago. In 2008, Colon was the biggest liability on a much maligned offensive line that ended up being part of a Super Bowl champion, That year, Colon could be counted on for nothing much besides drive-killing penalties and an inability to read the pass rush.
So it took many, including myself, by complete shock when Colon transformed into the Steelers' best lineman the following season. So dramatic was his turnaround that Peter King called the tackle the 48th best player in the league. Of course, that was a laughably high valuation from PK, but it at least illustrates that Colon was starting to garner some respect around the league.
Now, however, we might never find out if that 2009 season was indicative of Colon becoming a standout tackle. After missing all of 2010 was a torn ACL suffered during training camp, Willie suffered a triceps injury in the Ravens drubbing that will require season-ending surgery. So that offseason $29 million contract looks great for a guy who will have played four quarters of football in two seasons. While it's not a reaggravation of the injury he already had, how many players rebound from missing essentially two straight seasons? Not many, I'd imagine.
I'd prefer it, and I'm sure the Steelers would too, that Flozell could return. But The Hotel's asking price is supposedly too high. While an adequate stopgap (at least in run blocking) Flozell isn't anyone worthy of breaking the bank on. So instead we get rookie second-round pick Marcus Gilbert taking over as the Steelers' starting right tackle. A best-case scenario would be Gilbert playing well enough that he could be swapped for Jonathan Scott on the left side, though I'll settle for something less than a complete disaster.
The Steelers, meanwhile, brought on tackle Jamon Meredith, who, along with Scott, was a guy that offensive line coach Sean Kugler coached in Buffalo two years back. No sure whether it's bad luck or something more distressing, but Kugler has had to deal with lines decimated by injuries each of the past three seasons. Does that mean he's to be commended for his flexibility or are there conditioning problems that the team should worry about?