With the Pittsburgh Steelers having completed the first portion of their season, now would be as good a time as any to take a look back on what’s transpired this year and give out some midseason player evaluations.
The team has had a rocky but ultimately successful season to date, coming out of the first six games with a winning record despite being 1-2-1 just two weeks ago. Coming off of consecutive strong victories with improve play from both sides of the ball, things are looking up.
The offense has done its part for the most part, but has taken some long vacations. Their disappearing acts in the second half was perplexing, but that has improved. Defensively, the secondary is seemingly becoming a bit more stable after being nothing short of terrible previously, but there are absolutely some real concerns remaining.
Player: Ramon Foster, LG
Ramon Foster gets talked about the least in terms of his on-field performance along the offensive line, and I’m not entirely sure why. Perhaps that’s just the nature of the beast when you are the one of the three interior linemen that has not been a first-team All-Pro and whose staple feature is pulling, even though he has shown that he can be used in that fashion with effectiveness.
But I think it is worth noting that Foster has turned in a better performance so far this year than he did a year ago, which was overall a down year for the 10th-year veteran. I’m not entirely sure how or why he struggled more last season, and why he is doing better this year, but he is.
And that is in spite of the fact that he missed almost all of training camp and the preseason with a somewhat serious ankle sprain. He has struggled in the past to play with effectiveness after coming back from an injury, but that hasn’t been the case this season.
He is not and has never been flashy in his performance, but Foster’s legacy is marked with solid and consistent play. You probably won’t have an easy time finding a guard who can better diagnose and pass off stunts between himself and his tackle and center, the trio having been working together for about half a decade now, himself as the nucleus.
The entire offensive line has picked up the pace over the course of the past couple of games, and they will look to continue that progress pushing through to the other side of this bye week. Foster as integral a piece of the line’s personality and consistency as any other, even taking into consideration the ableness with which B.J. Finney has substituted for him over the previous two years.
An undrafted free agent in 2009, he has now played in 136 games and started 121, which is commendable all in itself, but that he continues to play at a high level at the age of 32 is just the cherry on top.