If you’ve been living under a rock all offseason, you probably missed that the Pittsburgh Steelers underwent significant changes to the offensive line as center Maurkice Pouncey retired, guard David DeCastro was cut, and left tackle Alejandro Villanueva and left guard Matt Feiler were allowed to leave in free agency.
Now, just days away from the Steelers reporting to Pittsburgh for the start of training camp, Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox decided to highlight the Steelers’ OL as the team’s biggest concern entering the 2021 season.
You don’t say?
Having to replace four starters, all while shifting another starter in Chukwuma Okorafor to left tackle, is pretty darn tough on paper obviously. It’s one of the weakest groups the Steelers have had — on paper – since 2008 at the earliest, though that group helped the Steelers win a Super Bowl.
There’s reason to be concerned, no doubt, but everyone knows this. What about the outside linebacker depth, or the CB3 role? What about safety depth? It’s easy to pinpoint the offensive line as the biggest concern for the Steelers, but it’s a lazy one, since the offensive line has been talked about since March.
“…Their offensive line threatens to derail their chances of taking home a second straight division title,” Knox writes. “…The Steelers have a 39-year-old quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger with all the mobility of an oak tree. Unless their young, unproven line gels quickly, said quarterback is likely going to spend a lot of time trying to watch the game out of his earhole.”
Nothing like a little hyperbole there, eh?
Let’s remember Roethlisberger was barely touched last year behind a putrid offensive line. Granted, he had to get rid of the football incredibly quick, and if that has to happen again this year the Steelers are in trouble. However, the Steelers’ offensive line appears to fit what the Steelers want to do, which is run the football and get downhill on teams, which should take a lot of pressure off of Roethlisberger.
Though it makes sense as to why people continue to doubt the Steelers’ offensive line and expect the starting five to put Roethlisberger in a tough spot every time he drops back to pass, I’m betting this group is much better than people think at the moment. They won’t be the best group the Steelers have put together up front in the last decade or so, but they won’t be close to the worst either.