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Harbaugh Believes C Tyler Linderbaum ‘Did A Heck Of A Job’ With Steelers Testing Him Using Heyward

There’s never a shortage of things to complain about when your team loses, but perhaps the most disappointing thing about the Pittsburgh Steelers’ loss on Sunday to the Baltimore Ravens is just how outclassed they were in the trenches.

Now, it wasn’t as lopsided as Baltimore’s 220 rushing yards on 39 carries might make it out to be, at least not on a play-to-play basis, but it doesn’t get up to 200-plus yards on the ground without some weaknesses on display.

Or at least a failure to match an opponent’s strength. And they found out the hard way that rookie center Tyler Linderbaum is quickly becoming one of the Ravens’ strengths. Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh believes the Steelers actively tried to test him with the likes of All-Pro Cameron Heyward, but whatever they did it was obviously insufficient.

“They put Cam over him quite a few times, which is not their norm all the time. I think they felt like they were going to test Tyler, and Tyler came through,” Harbaugh told reporters yesterday via the team’s website, although in actuality they didn’t play him head over the center an abnormal amount of the time.

“Sure, Cam had his plays, too. There was a lot of back and forth in the run game and the pass game. Cam Heyward’s one of the best players in football,” Harbaugh added. “I thought Tyler did a heck of a job, acquitted himself excellent, excellent. Had some really phenomenal blocks, just continues to improve all the time. So, really happy we have him.”

The 25th overall draft pick out of Iowa, Linderbaum has been a day-one, plug-and-play starter along the interior for Baltimore and has missed something like one snap this year. He gives the line stability after the Ravens had lineup shifts at the position for a few years, which included moving guard Bradley Bozeman to center last season before leaving in free agency.

Many Steelers fans had their eyes on Linderbaum after the team’s third-round pick in 2021, Kendrick Green, really struggled at center last season. Instead, they signed Mason Cole in free agency to take over the position.

While he has done admirably when healthy, Cole is not going to be mistaken for a first-round talent, and Linderbaum is certainly displaying some indications that he can be a top player in the league at his position in a short amount of time.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s front office knows that there is still work to do to rebuild this offensive line, or at least I hope it does. Cole and James Daniels were obvious upgrades in free agency, but there’s still room for improvement. They have the quarterback they’re going to give it a go with now; it’s time to get him protection. Especially after he suffered two concussions already this year because of the blocking.

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