The Pittsburgh Steelers have invested several high draft picks in their current offensive line dating back to 2010 and one of those early selections, starting right tackle Marcus Gilbert, is confident that this upcoming season might be the best ever for the group.
“With these years playing with each other, we should be the best offensive line in the NFL,” Gilbert said recently, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com.
While Gilbert’s optimism is expected, the Steelers offensive line still needs to prove on the field that they can indeed take that next step and become one of the top two or three offensive lines in the league under the tutelage of second-year offensive line coach Mike Munchak. They’ll get the chance to do just that early in the 2015 season as they’ll face four solid defensive fronts in their first four games.
While the Steelers were successful at running the football last year in a lot of their games, the offensive line still had it’s fair share of problems when it came to consistency. In fact, their starting unit was man-handled by the Baltimore Ravens front seven last year in the playoffs and that’s one of the four teams they’ll face in the first quarter of the season. This time, however, they should have their All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell on the field for that game as that’s the week he’s scheduled to make his season debut following him serving his three-game suspension.
While the Steelers only surrendered 33 regular-season sacks last season, which was their lowest amount allowed dating back to 2005, their tackles were guilty of allowing nearly half of them with Gilbert being personally charged with six quarterback takedowns in the 777 offensive snaps that he played. The Florida product has only managed to play in all 16 games just once during his first four years in the league, so he’ll be expected to stay healthy in 2015 after signing a five-year, $30 million contract extension last August.