We still have some time to kill before the Pittsburgh Steelers get back on the field, and their bye week happens to have fallen at a pretty appropriate time, so over the course of this week, we are going to bring you a sort of quick-hitter review of how the team has performed on a positional basis.
Position: Interior Offensive Line
Ramon Foster: For the most part, veteran Ramon Foster has pretty much been his usual self. While he rarely does anything spectacular, it’s equally rare that you see him do anything spectacularly bad. He dealt a little with injuries in the early part of the season, but seems to be recovered by now.
It should be noted that Foster’s presence on the team extends well beyond his play. He is a leader in the locker room, and the team made him a captain two Sundays ago when their offensive captain, their quarterback, did not dress. That says a lot.
Maurkice Pouncey: No offense to Cody Wallace, but the difference between the 2014 and 2015 seasons was pronounced, and the difference between the 2015 and 2016 seasons is as well. That is because 2014 and 2016 had Pouncey healthy, and he has been the anchor in the team’s run-blocking and pass-protecting efforts. He is not all the way back to his 2014 first-team All-Pro form, but he’s more than holding his own.
David DeCastro: On the other hand, 2015 first-team All-Pro David DeCastro has not been playing like somebody who is going to repeat that distinction in 2016. I’m not sure entirely why that is, but his play simply has not been up to what should be his par. The impressive plays are down and the inconsistency is back up. He needs to solidify himself heading into the second half of the season, because this line needs him to be excellent.
Cody Wallace: Pouncey missed all of 2015, and it’s certainly starting to look like Cody Wallace is going to miss all of 2016. After suffering a knee injury in the second preseason game, he has practiced just once, all the way back in Week Two if I recall correctly, and he basically said recently that he expects to be moved to injured reserve whenever the team needs another roster spot. That’s what happens when you can’t practice eight weeks into the season.
B.J. Finney: That’s also what happens when you get a performance like the one B.J. Finney gave in his first season, starting in place of Foster in Week Four. And the thing is, he’s an even better center than he is a guard. He may be the team’s top interior reserve in 2017. Technically, he already is in 2016.
Chris Hubbard: That point was kind of solidified when the team chose to start Finney over Chris Hubbard in that Week Four game. Finney even wrenched his finger in a facemask on that Thursday of practice, but returned the next day and started the game. But Hubbard still needs to be mentioned as the Swiss Army Knife of the line.
Notes: Not really much to note, I don’t think. Overall, the health of the interior has been good this year outside of the game and a half that Foster missed. Even without Wallace, this group looks to be in pretty good shape.