Steelers News

Nate Herbig On Smashmouth Football: ‘The QB Can’t Get Hit When You’re Run Blocking’

There’s a certain theme connecting the moves the Pittsburgh Steelers have been making along the offensive line so far this offseason. Actually—two, really. All three of the linemen the team has signed to date played for the Philadelphia Eagles at one point, during a time at which Andy Weidl was there in the front office.

But they’re also large men who won’t exactly be mistaken for tight ends any time soon. They’re grinders in the trenches, which seems to be a bit of a shift from the more athletic profile the Steelers have previously preferred over the past decade or so. Take Nate Herbig, for example, the 334-pound guard.

I feel like football is played a certain way and I’m gonna play it that way, and I’m happy to be here—old-school, smashmouth, I like that stuff”, he said last week during his introductory press conference with the local media. “As you can see, I’m built for it”.

You don’t do a lot of smashing when you’re playing passive in pass protection, and Herbig made it clear that he’d rather be run blocking if he had his preference, although the answer he gave might be construed as ‘politically correct’ as far as the politics of football go. Asked what he’d rather be doing, he said, “Run blocking. Because the quarterback can’t get hit when you’re run blocking”.

That quarterback will now be Kenny Pickett after spending recent years blocking for the likes of Jalen Hurts while he was in Philadelphia. He wasn’t a part of the Eagles’ Super Bowl run a year ago, but he’s been around that talent, and he sees Pittsburgh building a similar foundation.

“Studs everywhere. I think they’re really building something here”, he said when asked for his general impressions of the team. “They’ve been good for a long time. Coach Tomlin is an unbelievable head coach. Hopefully I can add”.

In terms of his anticipated role for the 2023 season, that seemed to shift after the Steelers signed his former Eagles teammate, Isaac Seumalo. When Herbig first signed, it was assumed that he would challenge Kevin Dotson to start at left guard and likely be favored to win.

There’s no question that Seumalo will start, however, so that would have to mean another player, like Mason Cole, would have to be knocked out of the starting lineup in order for him to get the job. That says little about his value, however, because the Steelers were in need of quality depth, and continue to be. They likely still need a primary backup center, and a quality tackle who can compete to start this season.

There’s also the possibility that Herbig can be used as a sixth lineman, something he has done, but done very little, in his career before. The newly-signed Le’Raven Clark—Herbig’s teammate in Philadelphia in 2021—also has a little bit of experience in that role.

To Top
error: Alert: Content is protected !!