Halfway through the preseason, many have thought that the Steelers Offensive line, in their first year starting with one another as a unit, would be a solid, growing unit. A unit that vastly differs from past Steeler offensive line play that often befell injury & ability to keep Big Ben upright.
2 games into the preseason, the Steelers offensive line has failed to meet these expectations.
In the first preseason game vs. the Giants the Steelers could not manage an offensive touchdown. The Steelers were 5-16 on 3rd downs. Pittsburgh also were heavily penalized with 7 penalties amounting to 50 yards total. Many of these penalties were on the offensive line. Constant holding calls, hands to the face, & illegal formations have been a huge issue for the Steelers O-line.
Game 2 vs. the Washington Redskins was even worse. 7 penalties amounting for 72 yards and 2-9 on 3rd downs. The Steelers earned many large gains on run plays vs. Washington just to be nullified due to holding penalties on the likes of Pouncey, DeCastro, & Gilbert. Of course, all penalties cannot be blamed on the offensive line nor being inept of converting 3rd downs. However, the lapses in opposing rush situations have become a common theme thus far in preseason play. And, the Steelers have just under 3 weeks to fix what ails a healthy & projected nearly in stone offensive line unit.
One can say that it’s “just preseason.” However, preseason is definitely an indicator of what to expect from certain players often times. The Steelers Offensive line unit has looked absolutely dreadful & it’s pretty hard to simply dismiss it as “just preseason.”
One way in particular that you can suggest slightly to hit the panic button is the play of the Steelers defense in comparison to the offense. In 2 games, the Steelers have forced 6 turnovers. The Steelers, in 2012, were well criticized for their lack of forced turnovers. Thus far, they have eliminated the idea that they are inept of being a disruptive unit on defense.
Then, there’s the offense. Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t had time to get rhythm in his passes. The ground game has been up to speed however offensive holding & hands to the face penalties have killed drives in which the run game has been effective. This is a direct fault of the offensive line not being disciplined. Maybe this o-line unit still needs the last two games to gel & be a functional unit, this being their first time all together playing with one another. However, the Steelers line must wake up & live up to the various first round draft pick statuses that they were chosen as.