Though the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive line isn’t coming off a tremendous showing against the Los Angeles Chargers, Dan Moore can look at the big picture and see how much progress this unit has made. From a group of unknowns with limited or zero experience at the start of the year, the Steelers’ line has made strides. Something Moore and more importantly, his coaches, recognize.
“We were watching film today and our offensive line coach mentioned just watching the film, how much better we’ve gotten,” Moore told reporters following today’s practice. “I think we’ve taken a tremendous step regardless of what’s going on in our room with injuries. Everybody’s coming to work every day and we’re just getting better.”
Presumably, that’s head offensive line coach Adrian Klemm saying that, not assistant Chris Morgan, but Moore did not specify.
Though the group is inconsistent, they were consistently bad at the start of the season. There’s certainly more cohesion within the group, playing as a unit, not as individuals, and the results have followed suit with better rushing performances and success rates. Even Sunday’s loss, where the run game was an undeniable disappointment, at least saw Pittsburgh have a run success rate of over 50%.
Moore was asked the specific areas where Pittsburgh has improved.
“Our double-teams specifically moving guys off the ball. Not having space in between our double teams getting split and getting to the second level.”
Stronger double teams has led to a better push up front and by extension, a more effective run game. Again, it hasn’t always produced in ideal results. Sunday’s loss to the Chargers was a prime example of that, running for fewer than 60 yards and 3.1 YPC against the league’s worst-ranked run defense that was missing its two best interior defensive linemen. The Steelers were without Kevin Dotson and turned to third-string left guard Joe Haeg after J.C. Hassenauer injured his pec, but there’s still no excuse for the lack of a run game.
But compared to the start of the year, the Steelers are light years ahead of where they were. Hopefully by the end of the season, they’ll be light years ahead of where they are now.