Free agent Ramon Foster thrust into spotlight
When the Steelers signed Ramon Foster as an undrafted free agent, he was viewed as an offensive line project with a nice upside.
When Foster beat out Doug Legursky to became the backup left guard to start the season, he was no longer viewed as a long-term project because his promotion meant he was only one play away from replacing starter Chris Kemoeatu.
Foster makes his NFL debut as a starter Sunday night against the Baltimore Ravens because Kemoeatu is sidelined with sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his left knee.
For Foster, who replaced Kemoeatu during last week's loss at Kansas City, having a week to prepare for his first starting assignment should boost his confidence level.
"This week is a little bit different,'' said Foster, who primarily started at right tackle at Tennessee. "Now you get a little more time to prepare and get into the mindset of knowing you're going to play for sure instead of coming off the sideline.
"I didn't even know he (Kemoeatu) was coming out for an injury. I thought he was going to come out for a play and go back in.''
Foster follows in a long line of Steelers' offensive linemen who weren't highly touted entering the draft, as there are no first- or second-round picks along the line in the starting lineup.
Left tackle Max Starks, who plays next to Foster on the line, said Foster is a quick study who pays attention to detail and is always prepared.
"Ramon's fine. He understands that this is a business. First and foremost, you have to take care of your job and your responsibility. He's willing to make adjustments and learn how to be a better player,'' Starks said.
"I played with him in the preseason. He's been doing a great job. That's why he got the backup role immediately from week one because he shows a lot of promise, and he knows what he's doing out there. It's going to be a good test for him, but you have to go in there with confidence, and I think he has that.''
Foster said there's no time for nervousness because he understands what's at stake for the 6-4 Steelers, who seek their third consecutive regular-season win over the 5-5 Ravens as both teams vie for a postseason berth.
While he acknowledges Baltimore's traditionally strong defense, Foster feels good about his ability to adapt to a starting unit that has improved from last season.
"I've just got to stay humble and make sure I'm on the same page with those guys,'' he said. "They've been playing together for over two years, this same unit. I've got to make sure I know my assignments and do everything up to their standard.''
Foster is well aware that he is replacing Kemoeatu, who has developed into one of the league's top run blockers.
At 6-foot-5, Foster is two inches taller than Kemoeatu and has longer arms, which could help him in pass blocking situations against the Ravens.
"Chris is a guy that can do it all,'' Foster said. "I've watched him and seen him do stuff, and I try to (mimic) him.''
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers are banking on linebackers to improve strength of defense
- Kaboly: Steelers fill biggest needs by drafting defensive players
- Penn State tight end James, a South Allegheny grad, goes to Steelers in 5th round
- Steelers focus on defense on final day of NFL Draft
- Steelers draft WR from Auburn in 3rd round
- Steelers notebook: Harrison will play fewer snaps this season
- Rossi: Steelers’ need also was a pass rusher
- Steelers get their corner with Mississippi’s Golson
- Steelers mock drafts: Beat writers give their picks
- Steelers take Kentucky OLB Dupree with 1st-round pick in draft
- Steelers introduce No. 1 pick Dupree