It might be stating the obvious, but Pittsburgh Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin still believes heavily in a young offensive line that the Steelers invested in and rebuilt from the ground up ahead of the 2021 season.
While the play of the linemen up front through three weeks as been nothing short of disastrous, the Steelers — especially Tomlin — believe that the group overall has the talent to improve. All that’s missing at the moment is game experience and cohesion — two significant things for an offensive line overall.
During his weekly show, 84 Lumber Presents the Mike Tomlin Show, the Steelers’ longtime head coach addressed the offensive line as a whole with host Bob Pompeani, stating he believes that the group certainly has the talent to become a good one in the Steel City.
“First of all, they have the talents to do it. I’m talking about each man individually in terms of pedigree, they have the talent to do it. In some instances they have to gain experience and knowledge that comes with playing,” Tomlin said to Pompeani. “In other instances, we’ve got to collectively gain cohesion, and that’s an element of it. And so we’re going to continue to work. We feel good about the group, and that is for the reasons that are outlined. And we understand that it’s a process and, you know, we’ve absorbed some negativity more than we would like obviously, but some of that has been been due to game circumstances. So we work our tails off to minimize some of them games circumstances to aid us in that development as well.”
It’s certainly fair to agree that guys like rookies Dan Moore Jr. and Kendrick Green have the pedigree coming out of college, though Green is still trying to make the switch from guard to center, while right guard Trai Turner is a five-time Pro Bowl guard, while left guard Kevin Dotson was well regarded coming out of college and started a couple of games in 2020 as the Steelers dealt with injuries along the offensive line.
Cohesion simply doesn’t happen overnight for a group of players, so that will come in due time, barring health. With cohesion comes experience, as they go hand-in-hand. The first three weeks have been really rough for the rebuilt offensive line, but it does feel as though the talent is certainly there.
Growing pains were without a doubt expected with a completely rebuilt offensive line, but it wasn’t expected to be this rough. Hopefully those pedigrees start to kick in, the line gels, and things start to get cleaned up in the trenches, just as Tomlin believes that they can be.