Is Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger even constitutionally capable of leveraging the slightest criticism against his offensive line? It hardly seems so, looking over the history of his career, most famously the ‘who’s laughing now?’ remark toward his offensive linemen after the team won the Super Bowl in 2008, very much in spite of that group’s play.
Well, Pittsburgh’s offensive line this season is about as bad as it has been at any point since that season, though that’s not wholly shocking when you consider the substantial turnover in the group with less than remarkable new pieces. They even had a starter and his backup missing yesterday. But still, he wouldn’t put it on his line.
“When we don’t do enough, it seems like it falls on those guys. And it shouldn’t, because they fought their butts off”, Roethlisberger told reporters after the game when he was asked if he felt the Bengals won the game in the trenches. “Give credit to the other side; those guys did a lot of different looks, a lot of different things. We didn’t do enough. I will not point the blame at the offensive line, because that’s not where it belongs”.
That’s not entirely accurate, though. It doesn’t belong squarely on the offensive line, as the issues are multiple, but the level of play in the trenches is very much in part to blame for what we have seen on offense the entire season.
That’s what happens when you don’t have a single lineman starting where you intended him to start when the offseason first began. And they have two mid-round rookies in the starting lineup who have rarely played particularly well.
With that being said, the tackles have had worse games than yesterday, particularly in pass protection. That might not be saying a whole lot, but it wasn’t pressure from the edge that ruined the Steelers’ game plan.
Still, what can be done? Head coach Mike Tomlin said that we could anticipate potential changes being made, but…what changes? Plug in Zach Banner? Play Joe Haeg at tackle? I don’t think anybody’s going to consider replacing Kendrick Green with B.J. Finney an upgrade.
Everybody should have known from the get-go that this group wasn’t going to be what it needed to be at the end of just one offseason. They were thrown a curveball, as well, with David DeCastro’s injury, which led to them releasing him, though even a healthy DeCastro wasn’t going to come close to being enough to salvage this group.