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For Adams, it's when and where

Posted May 29, 2014

Mike Adams began 2013 as a starter and ended it as a backup. Now he works to get another chance

After opening last season as a starter but finishing as a spare part, Mike Adams understandably is reluctant to talk about the experience in any great detail.

“I think it would be tough on anybody,” was about as far as Adams was willing to go on the subject following OTA No. 3 on Thursday at the Steelers practice facility.

Adams maintained he’s still every bit the competitor he’s always been heading into his third NFL season, and every bit as confident in his ability to contribute.

The question is where might he be given the opportunity to contribute?

Adams, a former second-round draft pick out of The Ohio State University in 2012, worked both sides of the offensive line on Thursday.

“Played a little left (tackle), a little right (tackle),” he confirmed.

Adams said he was “just cycling through,” when he played right tackle with a group that included David DeCastro at right guard, Ramon Foster at left guard and Kelvin Beachum at left tackle (center Maurkice Pouncey had the day off).

That was either because the Steelers are preparing Adams to be a backup swing tackle or because they envision Adams potentially competing with starter Marcus Gilbert at right tackle.

“I’m here to compete for a job and get better every day,” was about as far as Adams was willing to go on that subject. “Wherever they need me, I just want to come out and play.”

Adams came out and played as the starting left tackle during the first four games of 2013. But he was benched following a 34-27 loss to Minnesota on Sept. 29 in London and inactive for the Steelers’ next game, a 19-6 victory over the Jets on Oct. 13 in New Jersey.

Thereafter, Adams contributed mostly as a third tight end before making another start at left tackle when Beachum came up injured and unavailable on Dec. 8 against Miami.

Adams appreciated the sporadic work as an extra tight end because it allowed him to be “out there competing and playing,” but it wasn’t enough to salvage his 2013 campaign.

“Overall, I think it went pretty bad,” he assessed.

Things are already different this year, thanks to the presence of new offensive line coach Mike Munchak.

“Oh, man, he’s an awesome coach, a great teacher,” Adams said. “It’s always good to learn from someone who’s been there. Him as a Hall-of-Famer, it doesn’t really get much better than that.

“He’s reviewed everything from last year. He’s a coach, that’s what they do. So, yeah, we’ve talked a bit. The whole group, we’ve all talked to him, all met with him. It’s been a good change so far.”

How much has changed for Adams and the Steelers remains to be seen.

“We’ll see,” he said. “We’ll see when it gets down to the dog days of camp and things like that, when there’s a little bit more adversity. That’s when you find out who you are, not in OTAs.

“I’m just excited to be out here competing, working, playing. That’s what I’m here for.”

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