Steelers News

James Daniels Believes OL Took ‘Step Forward’ In Finale, Sees Penalties As Correctable

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive line was rough last night, though if you take away the penalties, it wasn’t as bad as the week before. Indeed, there was even some good play, and arguably, the pass protection was a little bit better—I thought one of Mitch Trubisky’s sacks was on him, personally.

Not that the unit is where it needs to be as we now head into the regular season, but progress is what is most important. As long as they are getting better, then things are heading in the right direction. So is that where the line feels like it’s headed?

“I would say we took a step forward. It’s kind of hard to assess our play without watching the film. But, overall, it does feel like we improved”, veteran right guard James Daniels said after the game yesterday, via transcript provided by the team’s media department.

Daniels was the team’s biggest free agent signing—or perhaps second-biggest, given that they also signed quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who plays the most important position in the game. And very much looks like he’s going to start.

The problem is, Daniels hasn’t really looked the part since he got here. He has not played like a prized free agent, though he did indeed look better by degrees yesterday than he did a week earlier, which is naturally what you want to see.

As for the penalties, that is very much not what you want to see, and they killed or stalled some drives for the offense. The holding calls were one thing, at least one of which I thought was a bit soft, but pre-snap penalties are just unacceptable.

“Those are all correctable”, Daniels insisted, and of course he’s right that, in theory, correcting that kind of behavior is correctable. But that doesn’t mean it will work out that way. “”A false start is just focus. Holding, if the running back goes outside, you just kind of have to let go. Those are all correctable. We have trust in our coaches and we trust our guys”.

The other guys consist of second-year left tackle Dan Moore Jr., who was called for holds on near-consecutive plays in the red zone, third-year left guard Kevin Dotson, who appears to have ‘won’ the job, veteran free agent center Mason Cole, and Chukwuma Okorafor, the longest-tenured lineman on the roster, now in his fifth season, all with the Steelers.

We’ve no doubt seen a lot of growing pains from this unit. It’s hard to gauge how much better it’s going to get, quite frankly. I don’t think many people find themselves optimistic about this season. Indeed, I’m sure there are already mock drafts with a couple of linemen being taken on the first two days—which is not a bad idea.

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