The regular season is here, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are taking their practices at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the real work is now upon us, there is plenty left to be done.
And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they wade through a regular season in which they are, at least supposed to be, among the favorites to win the Super Bowl.
Question: Game Edition – Who has the advantage between the Steelers’ battered front seven and the Dolphins’ upturned offensive line?
When it comes to getting after the quarterback and protecting him, neither the Steelers’ defensive front seven nor the Dolphins’ offensive line, respectively, have done a fantastic job in carrying out their tasks this year.
And neither of them will be playing this game with a full deck. While the Dolphins are expected to get two starting linemen back for this game, neither will be at full strength, while their backup center is questionable to play, but Mike Pouncey is back.
On the flip side, the Steelers are once again without Ryan Shazier, even though Vince Williams has filled in very ably in his stead. More concerning is the absence of Cameron Heyward, a prospect that Pittsburgh has never had to face before, as this is going to be the first game of his career that he has ever missed.
Heyward leads the team with three of their seven sacks, and they will have to make do by cobbling together playing time for their reserve defensive linemen while placing a greater burden on third-year defensive end Stephon Tuitt.
The Steelers’ defensive front seven has not been anything particularly special this year, and they are going to be playing shorthanded, even with a lineup change thrown into the mix, with Anthony Chickillo evidently being given top billing at the left outside linebacker position in what will inevitably be a rotation anyway.
How this plays out against a Dolphins offensive line that has been under fire lately though which is being bolstered by the return of multiple starters over the course of the past two weeks, will have to be determined on the football field.
From a health standpoint, the Dolphins are in better position right now than are the Steelers, but they lack for playing time together. It will be important for the Steelers to continue to manufacture pressure and keep Miami’s passing game off track.