The Pittsburgh Steelers started their 2021 regular season this past Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, and that game included the team having to play an offensive line that not only included two rookies and a second-year player, but one that didn’t get a chance to build much continuity through training camp and the preseason. The Steelers still managed to win their Sunday game against the Bills even though the offensive line didn’t play great overall. On Tuesday, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin held his weekly press conference, and during it he was asked to assess the play of the offensive line against the Bills on the road this past Sunday.
“I loved the spirit in which they worked,” Tomlin said. “I loved the demeanor in which they worked. I love the physicality in which they worked. The quality of our work has to get better. We have to develop skill relative to that position. We got to develop individual and collective know-how and cohesion, but the will things, the intangible things that are very required in order to progress I saw. And so, that was encouraging. Not that I’m looking for it, but that was encouraging. But we roll our sleeves up and go back to work this week.”
As mentioned, the Steelers starting five offensive linemen on Sunday against the Bills included two rookies in center Kendrick Green and Dan Moore Jr. On Tuesday, Tomlin was asked about the play of Green specifically during his press conference and talked about the young center and Moore as well in his response to the question.
“We like where he is,” Tomlin said of Green. “Much like I mentioned with the rest of the offensive group and unit, I thought he brought the intangible things. He played with energy. He played with physicality. He played hard. He finished. Some of the technical things, awareness things, skill related things, smoothed out over the course of the game and it’s reasonable to expect that to continue. There’s going to be challenges, but, boy, what an environment he was in. Man, we were working on silent count and he’s the center in all of those things.
“Just to get in that environment with him and Dan Moore and not have a bunch of pre-snap penalties and things of that nature, I just thought was a win. I was prepared to deal with first and 15th some or losing five yards on a third and three going into a third and eight because they’ve got their ears pinned back and we’re working on a silent count. I can’t say enough about the work that those young guys did.
Green did leave the game for three snaps early in the third quarter and backup center J.C. Hassenauer replaced him. Tomlin was asked on Tuesday if Green leaving that Sunday game was at all injury related
“There’s nothing there from a health standpoint to be concerned about,” Tomlin said.
Personally, to me it looked like Green was removed for three plays so the coaching staff could settle him down as he looked to be getting way too aggressive in wanting to finish every play and even if meant doing so after the whistle or illegally.
The All-22 from Sunday’s game against the Bills just got into our hands Tuesday morning, so we are still going through every play to better evaluate how each offensive lineman looked. Per the television tape, Moore played a lot better than Green, who sure seemed to be on the ground quite a bit throughout the contest. Green’s pass blocking seemed to be a lot better than his run blocking so there’s that.
The Steelers’ offensive linemen came out of Sunday’s game against the Bills very healthy, and now the unit will begin preparing to play a good Las Vegas Raiders’ front four on Sunday at Heinz Field. Tomlin and offensive line coach Adrian Klemm will obviously be looking to see improvement from all five players against the Raiders and especially the two rookies, Green and Moore.
“By no means have they arrived,” Tomlin said on Tuesday of the offensive line heading into Week 2. “We’ve got so much work ahead of us, but it was enough to get us out of that [Bills] stadium with a win and I’m appreciative.”