Smith's injury is a blessing in disguise

Forget the current situation of "what might have been" for a moment and look at what "might be" down the road. The Steelers offensive line is going through a soul-searching period right now, one that may yield favorable results for some time to come.

Two very good things have already begun to expose themselves in Marvel Smith's absence, Alan Faneca playing LT and Keydrick Vincent playing Alan's old position of LG.

Alan Faneca is the consummate professional with a contract that should prevent foolish front office meddling for years to come at LT (One down - four to go). Smith's injury might ultimately be looked back on as the event that forced the Steelers to create the most tenacious LT in the NFL.

One thing that the Steelers have always needed to do is create an imposing offensive line to match their power running philosophy. At 6-5 330 pounds there is nowhere left to pad Keydrick but his wallet, something the Steelers had better do if they ever want to build an offensive line with cohesion. A knee injury in college made Keydrick the best kept secret in Mississippi. Smith's injury has literally forced this organization to get him on the field as a starter. Finally.

No player is immune to injury. Smith has been baptized at LT and interchangeability is a precious commodity for offensive linemen, one that would help justify his salary when he returns to RT. To this point the Steelers have been unable to replace him after removing the Mark Bruener training wheels. Resistance may have been futile all along. Ironically Smith's injury will eventually put an end to the madness at RT.

The Steelers' ability to maintain an offensive line has a very checkered past. They are finding that acquiring quality offensive tackles is difficult. No offensive line can succeed without a stable pair of bookends.

Up to this point the Steelers' unnecessary inventions have been a real mother. Nature seems to have stepped in and necessity is once again the mother of invention. It's time to stop the madness and just roll with it.

Smith's injury ultimately will steer them in the direction of the interior of their offensive line for upgrading and all-purpose tinkering. Positions much easier and less expensive to maintain. Positions much more suited to their track record. In the end, Smith's injury may right this ship.

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