It’s been a revolving door for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive line. And to their credit, it’s a group that has hung tough and done relatively well. But there is one area their coach, Mike Munchak, would like to see major improvement on.
“Penalties. I think that’s something that for whatever reason, they can be called anytime really, and for some reason, we’re getting too many of those in situations,” he said via Steelers.com. “Where it’s 1st and 10 and we get a five yard penalty, we get a holding call, calls that could go either way but we’re getting them this year. So we have to do a better job of staying out of those situations.”
That was most evident in Sunday’s loss to New England. The offensive line was flagged four times. Chris Hubbard was flagged twice, one false start and a costly hold that negated a tying touchdown, Alejandro Villanueva once for false start, and Maurkice Pouncey was nabbed for holding.
On the season, the line has reached 13 total penalties. Villanueva leads the pack with five, David DeCastro with three, while Marcus Gilbert and Hubbard each have a pair.
Still, it’s about the same rate as the line had last year. In 2015, they were flagged 29 times, a whopping 12 of those coming from Cody Wallace. Dig a little deeper and you see some surprising disparities.
Villanueva was flagged just once last year. Now, he’s leading the group with five. DeCastro has three flags, as many as he did all of last season. Those are the big surprises from the group and two players to focus on the rest of the season who need to have a big turnaround in that regard.
Munchak also noted, as every coach does, that there’s always room for improvement in all aspects.
“I think overall we’ve been solid. But we’ll play better, more consistent. I think in certain situations we have to be able to finish drives and do some things that we can step up and do better. As an offesive line, you always want to lead, always want to be the leaders of the group.”