When the Pittsburgh Steelers hired offensive line coach Pat Meyer, they knew they were getting an experienced offensive line coach at the NFL level. That was a change in pace from his predecessor in Adrian Klemm who had no NFL coaching experience prior to joining the Steelers as an assistant in 2019. Meyer had a mixed bag of results prior to joining the Steelers, but he turned around the Steelers’ offensive line, especially in the second half. In an interview with Dale Lolley of Steelers.com, offensive guard Kevin Dotson talked about what Meyer differed from and how his approach resonated with the team.
“He was a lot more technical and more gentle in his approach when it came to things, because he’s been a coach for so long, he understands that you can’t win every rep. He understands that you’ll have an off day,” Dotson said via the team’s website.
He added that Meyer isn’t a guy who just yells, because “he knows what you can do already.”
The Steelers’ run game averaged 121.9 yards per game in 2022, up from 91.1 yards per game in 2021. In their final three games, the unit ran for 149.3 yards per game, which ranked fifth in the NFL. Over the course of the year as the team got used to Meyer’s system. With a young offensive line, having an experienced offensive line coach was key to unlocking the team’s potential.
Obviously, adding other veterans like Mason Cole and James Daniels helped improve the line but Dotson was able to stay healthy and put together a solid season, while Dan Moore Jr. progressed in his second season and Chukwuma Okorafor was able to play well at right tackle. The line wasn’t perfect, but once they were able to get experience together the unit really began to gel and it helped unlock what the Steelers wanted to do offensively.
Before the season, I thought the Steelers success would hinge on being able to run the ball and control possession throughout the game. With their lack of run success early in the season and manging questionable quarterback play from Mitchell Trubisky and Kenny Pickett, they predictably got off to a slow start. But once the run game picked up, Pickett got more comfortable and limited his turnovers and the team picked it up and became a threat down the stretch.
Going forward, even if the Steelers don’t make changes along the offensive line, another year under Meyer and another year with Pickett getting more comfortable should make the offense as a whole stronger and the offensive line should carry their momentum going into next season. There’s little doubt they’ll draft or bring in an offseason lineman or two through free agency, but the question is whether that guy is a starter or someone who provides additional depth. Whatever the case is though, the 2023 season should be an improvement for the Steelers on the offensive side of the ball.