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2022 Training Camp Questions: Is This About As Good As It Gets For O-Line This Year?

The Steelers are already out of training camp and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, informally known as the South Side facility. It’s where they otherwise train all year round, and the shift from Saint Vincent College for training camp back to Pittsburgh signals the approaching arrival of the regular season.

The team had a good few weeks of work up in Latrobe, but there are still unsettled questions that need answering. There are a few position battles yet to be determined, whether one considers the quarterback job up for grabs, or even remotely in the mix.

We’ve got yet another new offensive line with some incoming veterans in James Daniels and Mason Cole. Myles Jack is in at inside linebacker, replacing Joe Schobert, and we’ll have to see if Devin Bush can return to form after last year’s dismal display.

There’s still so much going on, and even coming out of training camp, we’ll only uncover more questions as we go along. We’ll be discussing them here on a daily basis for the community to “talk amongst yourselves”, as Linda Richman might say on Coffee Talk.

Question: Is this about as good as the offensive line is going to get?

While the Steelers’ offensive line inspired no illusions of greatness in their play last week, the group up front, but it would be fair to say that they took a step back even from that. Left tackle Dan Moore Jr. in particular seemed to struggle against the Jaguars’ pass rushers, and right guard James Daniels has not looked anything like the sure thing we were hoping for when added as a priority free agent.

The group does return three starters from last season, so there wasn’t all that much of an expectation of growth through personnel turnover, but Daniels and Mason Cole were supposed to be significant additions. To his credit, Cole has been a much more stable presence at center than Kendrick Green was there last year, but Green is now competing at left guard with Kevin Dotson.

The offense offered a glimmer of hope last week on the strength of some positive running performances from Anthony McFarland Jr. and Jaylen Warren, but they absolutely could not get the running game going in Jacksonville, something Mike Tomlin noted after the game in a, to quote, “bluntly honest” assessment of the offense.

One would imagine that we can reasonably expect growth to occur over the course of the season, with two new starters, two young starters, and a new offensive line coach, all working with multiple new quarterbacks.

They’re going to have to get better, because what we’ve seen through two preseason games so far is not going to be good enough. Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph, and Kenny Pickett are going to be running for their lives, and the backs aren’t going to be running at all, if they keep up their current pace.

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