With such a new offensive line in Pittsburgh featuring two rookies, a first-year starter, one long-time starter making a position change, and one new, veteran face coming in off the street in the summer, the key for the Steelers’ new group was experience working together and gelling as the season progressed.
Entering Week 9 against the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football, the group is doing just that, gelling at the right time as the Steelers are getting hot as a team, sitting a 4-3, having one three straight as the run game has taken off and the protection in front of veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has improved.
On Friday, during his weekly media session, Steelers’ right guard Trai Turner addressed the group continuing to gel, stating that the improvements come down to timing, and that the group as a whole has not played its best game to date.
“It’s just timing. It’s meshing. I mean, we’re still doing that,” Turner said to reporters Friday, according to video via Steelers.com. “I mean, I know you guys know, we’ve had some times when we have some rough days in a week and we’ve got to stay out longer and do a little bit more to correct some things. Something that I didn’t understand when I first got in the league that older coaches I had talks with about was the timing, how we didn’t have as much timing, and I never understood that.
“I was like, ‘man, we have a lot of time, we’re doing a lot of work,’ but the older you get, you understand to be so detailed, and to have everybody on page five different guys thinking one thing at all times, whether it be 55, 60, 70, 75 plays, it’s not something that’s easy and it’s something that does take time,” Turner added. “It is something that takes gelling and continuity. And we are still in that process with the perfect game still out there. We still haven’t played the perfect game. So we’re still searching for the perfect game and a long as we’re searching for through those perfect games through…December, January, and February, I think we’ll be good to go.”
Turner is spot on that it takes time for a unit to come together the way the Steelers’ offensive line has. The old saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” applies to the construction of an offensive line in the NFL. It takes time, patience and overall reps to get to where the group as a whole wants to be.
It took time for the Steelers’ offensive line of the mid-2010s to reach an elite level that it stayed after for years; that didn’t happen overnight.
While I don’t think the group as currently constructed can get to that level that the Steelers’ offensive line once was, I do think the right talent is in place to be a serviceable line, one that can help the Steelers compete in the coming years around a power rushing attack.
The more reps and time spent together, the better the product on the field.