Shaping The Front Five
Since center Marquis Pouncey was drafted in the 2010, the Steelers have made a concerted effort to surround him with equally talented lineman in an effort to better protect master escape artist Ben Roethlesberger. It’s safe to say they’ve found some qualified candidates over the last two drafts, the real test however will be keeping all five linemen healthy throughout the sixteen game schedule. Though much maligned for the better part of five seasons, the offensive line cannot be held directly accountable for Big Ben’s injuries over the last two seasons. With the quick release Todd Haley offensive game plan going into it’s second year, they should have better control over keeping Big Ben clean, that is when the play doesn’t invariably break down. There will need to be more consistency from this years group, and much of that will come from the same five men holding down their respective positions game after game.
The departure of Max Starks leaves the left tackle position open for either Marcus Gilbert or Mike Adams. Ramon Foster will most likely return to right guard with Kelvin Beauchum penciled in for left guard, also as back up center after the release of center/guard Doug Lagursky. New offensive line coach Jack Bicknell brings valuable experience from his time with the New York Giants Super Bowl teams, he should serve as a good replacement for Sean Kuegler, who didn’t seem to get the credit he deserved while coaching in Pittsburgh. Running the ball effectively will be the first priority for this new group, this of course hinging upon the back field staying healthy as well. Given what we’ve seen thus far from the individual efforts of this young group of players, we certainly have reason to feel optimistic the 2013 version of the Steelers offensive line will be a capable and sound unit. The one caviat being the health of our signal caller, Big Ben.