After rebuilding the offensive line significantly this offseason, the return on the investment hasn’t quite been up to expectations for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The run game has struggled to get off the ground, and the offensive line really struggled to protect Ben Roethlisberger in Week 2, leaving the 39-year-old quarterback bruised and battered, causing him to head into the Week 3 matchup dealing with a pectoral injury.
Though the offensive line has been under constant criticism and general fire, veteran right guard Trai Turner, who was brought in this summer to replace David DeCastro, stated Friday in his media session that the offensive line is facing a continuous learning curve throughout the 2021 season. That learning curve continues in Week 3 as the Steelers face a strong Cincinnati Bengals’ front seven to Heinz Field for a key AFC North matchup.
“I think it’s a continuous learning curve that we are dealing with right now,” Turner said to reporters via Steelers.com. “And it’s not a bad thing at all. It’s just something that we have to keep on pressing through and pressing forward. And when you learn something, it means that you’re fixing old problems and finding new problems and there’s going to always be that in the NFL. Now it’s about how, how fast we can correct problems. And I think, you know, the coaches do a good job of coaching us up. We have a good quarterback, a great quarterback, and he’s a great leader back there helping us get that together. And we just, all five, come together and think as one.”
Turner is correct in that the Steelers — who are relatively young up front with rookies Kendrick Green and Dan Moore Jr., along with second-year pro Kevin Dotson holding down starting roles — will face a continuous learning curve. That curve took a step turn in Week 2 as the tough Raiders’ front seven really got after Pittsburgh throughout the game at Heinz Field. How they bounce back and continue to show their development will be key in Week 3, much like Turner said about has fast problems can be corrected.
This isn’t a terrible offensive line overall, but it needs to improve in a hurry, especially in the run game, or what transpired late in 2020 with the Steelers’ offense will be the case throughout the 2021 season, making for a dreadful offensive performance week to week while putting the health of Roethlisberger at risk.