Aggressive. Violence. Nasty. Physical. Attack, attack, attack! Do those words all sound familiar? It should, because that’s words used so far this offseason by members of the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line and new offensive line coach Adrian Klemm to describe what we should expect to see out of the front five in 2021. Steelers tackle Zach Banner is expected to be one of those five starting offensive linemen in 2021. On Tuesday, he was asked during his appearance on 93.7 The Fan to describe how he expects those aforementioned attributes the unit is expected to have to manifest themselves this season under the tutelage of Klemm.
“Yeah, it’s crazy because Klemm is a West Coast kid just like me, you know what I mean? Like, born in the inner city of California,” Banner said of the Steelers’ new offensive line coach. “Just, we grew up different and we learned a lot of different things. The youth is different, especially how youth sports are played. If you ever go watch an inner-city football game or youth football game, you’ll see, you know, mechanics are off. There’s really not too much technique. There’s a lot of athletic ability, but really, it’s more about heart. And you can’t sub that heart out of not only myself, but Klemm and the rest of this offensive line. You know, the youth that we have, the pups that we just brought in, the vets that we have, the guys that we have, I mean, they just, you know, adopted that mentality from Klemm.”
Banner, who has been in the NFL since 2017, is part of a Steelers’ 2021 offensive line group that includes a mix of young players such as rookie center Kendrick Green and guard Kevin Dotson, a fourth-year player in Chukwuma Okorafor, and a veteran in guard David DeCastro. It’s a nice mix, really, and overall one that should have a very nasty demeanor to it. Banner expects that group of five to completely buy into what Klemm is selling his unit this season.
“We’re going to go out and get better every day, but we’re going to, you know, give a damn about it,” Banner said on Tuesday. “And we’re gonna put a lot of heart into it. And in an offensive line, you know, it’s like, you guys know, it’s not so much about the accolades, but it’s so much about helping the other teammates and getting them their stats and touchdowns and their touches and the only way they can do that is if we open up the way.”
The way that Banner, Klemm and the rest of the members of the Steelers offensive line have painted the unit’s outlook for 2021 is being ultra aggressive and borderline thuggish. The starting right tackle made sure to comment on Tuesday that how the group exhibits those traits this season will be done within reason and thus within the letter of the law, so to speak.
“So, how do we do that and how do we do that as violent as possible without getting a 15-yard penalty or $20,000 fine in your locker?” Banner said.
What Banner had to say on Tuesday should have Steelers fans fired up, especially on the heels of all that we have heard coming out of that unit all offseason. There’s a lot of pressure on Klemm to turn around the Steelers’ offensive line play in 2021. It will be interesting to see if indeed he can get the unit to completely buy into his mentality and style of play once the season gets underway in Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills.