While the Pittsburgh Steelers, really on both sides of the ball but perhaps especially on offense, have been engulfed in a series of forced adaptations, there has at least been one constant upon which they could rely, and that is the veteran-laden offensive line.
Even with a starting five entering today’s game that features two players who started the 2018 season as backups—one even a healthy scratch—the Steelers have a great deal of confidence in what these five players are capable of doing on a weekly basis, and every week it seems as though they are playing closer to their highest potential.
Which, it goes without saying, is critical when considering that the Steelers have a novice at quarterback in Mason Rudolph. The second-year man is making his fifth-career start today against the Indianapolis Colts. As he expands the passing game to include more intermediate and deep throws, the protection will be even more important.
“You can’t take anything away from the offensive line because that’s the rock of this group”, offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner told reporters earlier this week, via a transcript from the team’s media department. “It’s the most experienced. They’ve seen all of this show before. Some of these guys have had to play with other backup quarterbacks from Landry Jones to Michael Vick to Charlie Batch. We’ve had guys here that have had to play”.
Coincidentally enough, the oldest of the group, Ramon Foster, is not playing, but Maurkice Pouncey has been here since 2010, and David DeCastro 2012. They have both blocked for Batch, though the others have not.
“They’re the catalyst to keeping things calm, and obviously the protection, they’re solid as a rock”, Fichtner went on in speaking about his front five. And he also pointed out that it’s not just on the offensive line. Everybody else, including the quarterback, has to do their job, as well.
“I told Mason, I said, ‘the truth is, and I don’t know the exact ranking, but if we’re in the top one or two or three in that category of sacks, then we should be one because you sacked yourself twice last week’”, he told reporters, and that is an accurate description of what happened—though not literally. He was responsible, particularly on the play on which he slid to his right out of a clean pocket.
“I’d like to go every game, and really our goal is to have zero sacks”, he went on. “I know it’s possible because we’ve done it before. We’ve played games before and not had the quarterback get touched. So, if we’re talking perfection, what we’re attempting to do, we’re attempting to do that every