The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Adrian Klemm will bring a greater physicality to the offensive line as the new position coach.
Explanation: After being promoted from assistant offensive line coach to the top position coach, Klemm gave an interview in which he spoke about the need for the team to get back to being more physical in the trenches, which many will be inclined to attribute the running game struggles to.
Generally, when somebody comes in and says this is what needs to be changed, you expect him to come in and work on that thing changing. It doesn’t matter that he was technically an ‘in-house promotion’ after serving two years as the assistant to Shaun Sarrett. He had a long coaching history at the college level that is surely more influential on his coaching philosophy than was the two years working with Sarrett.
I think it’s the very reason that Steelers opted to promote Klemm in the first place, because they recognized that a change in philosophy was necessary, with the offensive line trending in the wrong direction for the past few years, and things really starting to come to a head lately.
Coming in and saying that this, this, and this need to change, and actually enacting change in those areas, are two very different things, and when you’re talking about the physicality of the offensive line, that’s a conversation that is at least equally about personnel as it is about technique.
And the reality is that, on the whole, the Steelers do not have physical offensive linemen, and Maurkice Pouncey’s retirement isn’t going to help that. David DeCastro is not a mauler. Chukwuma Okorafor certainly is not a mauler. We don’t even know who else will be lining up.
Sure, perhaps Kevin Dotson can offer some physicality, but let’s not forget that his run-blocking was a step behind his pass protection as a rookie. We can’t count on him being the people-mover he was in college until we see it. And that’s just one player, who may or may not even be a starter.