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Even in victory, Steelers offensive line struggles

Seattle Seahawks v Pittsburgh Steelers Getty Images

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Pittsburgh’s offensive line looks like the weak link of the Steelers.

Even during a 24-0 victory against Seattle, there were signs for concern.  The line got pushed backwards when they tried to run at the goal line. They averaged 3.5 yards-per-carry against a defense that doesn’t exactly resemble the 1985 Bears.

Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette looks at the line in depth on Tuesday, and there are a lot of concerns.  Rookie Marcus Gilbert didn’t have a good first start in place of Willie Colon, who is out for the year.  Ben Roethlisberger has been sacked six times and fumbled twice in two games.   Roethlisberger wants to deliver the ball faster, which would help.

It’s true that the Steelers have overcome their offensive line problems for years, but this is usually a good run-blocking unit.  The offense also usually leans heavily on a dominant Pittsburgh defense.  We suspect this year the offense will have to pick up the slack more.

At least when they aren’t playing the Seahawks.

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53 Responses to “Even in victory, Steelers offensive line struggles”
  1. trollhammer20 says: Sep 20, 2011 10:02 AM

    They appear to have fine technique on the leg-whip. Just need to fine-tune it so the DE doesn’t go tripping into Ben’s legs.

  2. polishrod says: Sep 20, 2011 10:05 AM

    Too bad they can’t get one of their rings to play offensive line.

    I guess the Steeler fans can turn off the TV and open up their history books

  3. sojumaster says: Sep 20, 2011 10:08 AM

    Bruce Arians needs to go if we are going to have an offensive scheme that is going to allow Big Ben to have those quick release plays.

    Bruce is the one of the most (if not THE most)predictable offensive coordinators in the league and shows little to no imagination when it comes to the playbook.

  4. jw731 says: Sep 20, 2011 10:08 AM

    I’m sure Merrill “My tie knot is bigger than my brain” Hoge will dispute this on BSPN, and immediately consider them for the Hall of Fame…..

  5. redguy12588 says: Sep 20, 2011 10:17 AM

    Tomlin said that Gilbert did above average, and tomlin never praises rookies. They’re on pace to give up 48 sacks, which is about par for the course.

  6. blastfurnaceknows says: Sep 20, 2011 10:19 AM

    No one has to read a history book to recall something that just happened last year or three years ago. Too bad polishrod you are so sad. Your team must really must bottom-dwell to spew hate for hate’s sake.

  7. dayumyou says: Sep 20, 2011 10:22 AM

    Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Pittsburgh’s offensive line looks like the weak link of the Steelers.

    ___________________________

    Ha ha ha….exactly..and yet we get it done:)

  8. mcfluckey96 says: Sep 20, 2011 10:25 AM

    i see this team taking a step back. 10-6 tops. out in 1st round!

  9. folkcrusader says: Sep 20, 2011 10:29 AM

    The Steelers O line will just do what they always do, hold, hold, hold.

  10. southpaw2k says: Sep 20, 2011 10:36 AM

    I’m really surprised that some trolling Steelers fan like 7thlombardiontheway hasn’t posted on this thread to say something like the offensive line issue doesn’t matter once the Steelers secede from the NFL to form their own league.

  11. holeinone09 says: Sep 20, 2011 10:36 AM

    Not a new issue for Steelers, who seem to have been struggling on the OL for years now. Injuries are not helping. They will still have to establish some semblance of a running game, to go with what should be a very high powered passing capability. The young guys will hopefully improve with more playing time, and who knows, one of them might develop into a top caliber player. Thank goodness we have arguably the toughest SOB QB in the league in Ben. Somebody more brittle or smaller would likely not make it. Look at Vick.

    I didn’t understand why they didn’t try the QB sneak from the 1 yard line after the pass interference on the first drive against Seattle. Ben running over Pouncey, the best lineman they have, would have been a better bet to score the TD.

    In next year’s draft, they have to focus on OL and DB positions.

    GO STEELERS!!

  12. originalsteelcurtain says: Sep 20, 2011 10:46 AM

    It’s week #3, and the Steelers have 4 guys on the O-Line in different spots than they had in the Super Bowl starting lineup. It takes time to gel…they may not dominate but they will get better, at least in run blocking.

    When it comes to Pass Pro, Ben causes half of the sacks because of the way he scrambling, sandlot QB style.

  13. ottograham says: Sep 20, 2011 10:48 AM

    Expect the Steelers to benefit from a particularly soft schedule. This allows time for the offensive line to work together and develop chemistry together on their own terms. By time wildcard weekend or the divisional rounds come through we should be prepared. Barring extreme injuries to any of our studs offensively or defensively. Expect teh Steelers to make a run to defend the AFC crown. Next to the Pats and Jets I dont see a legitimate contender this season in the AFC. Like it or not.

    Sorry to Baltimore who had a great game week 1. I just dont see a championship caliber squad on paper or the field with the Ravens.

  14. apooster says: Sep 20, 2011 10:51 AM

    LOLOMGROFLLMAO6RINGZ7HEREWECOME

    Not.

  15. minhw0714 says: Sep 20, 2011 10:53 AM

    holeinone09 says:
    Sep 20, 2011 10:36 AM
    Not a new issue for Steelers, who seem to have been struggling on the OL for years now. Injuries are not helping. They will still have to establish some semblance of a running game, to go with what should be a very high powered passing capability. The young guys will hopefully improve with more playing time, and who knows, one of them might develop into a top caliber player. Thank goodness we have arguably the toughest SOB QB in the league in Ben. Somebody more brittle or smaller would likely not make it. Look at Vick.

    I didn’t understand why they didn’t try the QB sneak from the 1 yard line after the pass interference on the first drive against Seattle. Ben running over Pouncey, the best lineman they have, would have been a better bet to score the TD.

    In next year’s draft, they have to focus on OL and DB positions.

    GO STEELERS!!

    ===================================
    They drafted 2 DBs in April and 2 OL. One OL was cut in preseason (shame on our scouts). At some point the position coaches need to develop these guys or move them out for younger talent (see what happened to T. Hills).

  16. steelerfan999 says: Sep 20, 2011 10:59 AM

    THANK GOD BEN IS TOUGH,CAN YOU IMAGINE BRADY OR EITHER MANNING BEHIND THAT LINE,THEY WOULD LAST ONE GAME.

  17. 7thlombardiontheway says: Sep 20, 2011 11:19 AM

    6 rings. Any other arguments?

  18. medialovesthecowboys says: Sep 20, 2011 11:21 AM

    I’m pretty sure they’ll still beat Indy next week though.

  19. tatum064 says: Sep 20, 2011 11:22 AM

    blastfurnaceknows says:
    Sep 20, 2011 10:19 AM
    No one has to read a history book to recall something that just happened last year or three years ago. Too bad polishrod you are so sad. Your team must really must bottom-dwell to spew hate for hate’s sake.
    =====================
    I know that opener hurt Steeler fan. You were thoroughly dominated by the Ravens, and you are not looking that good…it has to end at some point. You beat SEATTLE. A team from the weakest division in football. But, its early…the warning was written in that opener..you have Peyton less Indy next, but you will have to score more to beat Houston and Tennessee in the following weeks.

  20. medtxpack says: Sep 20, 2011 11:22 AM

    Yes, Even the Steelers looked like have a good team against the Seattle High School team,…time for them to get back to their division and realize they arent guaranteed anything after getting whipped by Baltimore and facing a Cleveland team that will not roll over and die. Colt gets better with every game and will be pumped to prove himself against The Velvet Curtain…

  21. trickbunny says: Sep 20, 2011 11:25 AM

    dayumyou says: Sep 20, 2011 10:22 AM

    Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Pittsburgh’s offensive line looks like the weak link of the Steelers.

    ___________________________

    Ha ha ha….exactly..and yet we get it done:)
    ————————————————-
    “We?”

    My guess is that *you* would be laughed at trying to play for an NFL team… So you must mean “they,” right?

  22. Stiller43 says: Sep 20, 2011 11:37 AM

    Tomlin was pleased with Gilbert’s play.

    4 of those sacks and those 2 fumbles you mentioned were in the first game against a team who was treating the game as their Superbowl.

    So the line allowed him to get sacked twice which led to no fumbles against the defense that isn’t the ’85 Bears as you so eloquently pointed out.

    The run game did struggle, but when you’re killing your opponent, they’re going to load the box to stop the run because that’s all the Steelers did in the 2nd half. Run-Run-Pass-Punt.

    On pace for 48 sacks, which is completely on par with the past few years where they made it to the Superbowl and such.

    Thanks for the non-story.

  23. 3octaveFart says: Sep 20, 2011 11:38 AM

    southpaw2k says: Sep 20, 2011 10:36 AM

    “I’m really surprised that some trolling Steelers fan like 7thlombardiontheway hasn’t posted on this thread”

    Uhm, he’s not a Steelers fan.
    He’s been name-swapping and trolling Jets threads too.

  24. carnboys says: Sep 20, 2011 11:39 AM

    STEELERS SUCK!!!!!!

  25. Stiller43 says: Sep 20, 2011 11:40 AM

    And for the record, yes I would like to see the line massively upgraded.

    But no, it will probably not be the single cause of killing the Steelers dreams of a 7th Lombardi this year.

    See – New England Patriots Offense

    …if Golden Boy can make it out of the first round…

  26. Deb says: Sep 20, 2011 11:55 AM

    How is it that on every Pittsburgh thread the trolls manage to get in ahead of the fans? You guys must live for a Steelers story to pop up :D

  27. radrntn says: Sep 20, 2011 12:03 PM

    say what you want , but these guys hold and tackle more than anybody in the league…all one has to do is look at the play when Seymour drops big ben with a slap to the face. Seymour got pulled to the ground on that play, and big ben was talking smack about how the refs “won’t call it because you are the raiders.”

  28. cbass59 says: Sep 20, 2011 12:08 PM

    A negative Steeler story?? What a surprise. Had to think about this one for a day, huh?

    And to all the haters who regard Seattle as a non-accomplishment: Beating Seattle wasn’t the accomplishment. Not letting them cross the 50 yard line until five minutes into the 4th quarter is the accomplishment. Let’s see how many teams do that.

  29. Deb says: Sep 20, 2011 12:08 PM

    I have tremendous respect for the organization and Colbert, but we’ve been discussing these same issues for years without resolution, and it gets a little old.

    Yes, Pouncey is proof that drafting to fill holes works. But when you have too many holes to fill, sometimes you have to dip into the free-agent market, too–not necessarily for a big name but for someone serviceable (as the Ravens did with McKinney). We should have addressed the offensive line this off season. It will haunt us throughout the year–as will the cornerback issue.

    Yes, Ben is talented and elusive and has pulled off some miracle plays with his escapability. But he doesn’t work hard enough. If he spent more time working on his release with a QB coach (as he did during his suspension) and studying film, he would be a phenomenal quarterback–and we’d probably have at least one more trophy.

  30. Deb says: Sep 20, 2011 12:14 PM

    radrntn says:

    say what you want , but these guys hold and tackle more than anybody in the league…all one has to do is look at the play when Seymour drops big ben with a slap to the face. Seymour got pulled to the ground on that play, and big ben was talking smack about how the refs “won’t call it because you are the raiders.”
    ————————————————-
    Seymour said publicly after the game that Ben didn’t say anything to warrant his reaction. The Steelers were celebrating the TD and Ben brushed past him on the way to one of his offensive players. When he touched Seymour, the big guy went nuts.

    How does a mind come up with the complete BS you just posted??

  31. feldman9000 says: Sep 20, 2011 12:31 PM

    7thlombardiontheway says:
    Sep 20, 2011 11:19 AM
    6 rings. Any other arguments?

    ——-

    Yah what happened with 7? Remember when you lost to the Cowboys in 30? That should be 8. This means your overrated. Green Bay laughs at your six with it’s 13 NFL titles troll.

  32. dspyank2k11 says: Sep 20, 2011 12:53 PM

    This really isnt that big of a story. They didnt have an offensive line when they won the Super Bowl a few years back.

    Its all about Ben.

  33. dickroy says: Sep 20, 2011 12:55 PM

    I have been saying the Steelers need to take the offensive line more seriously for a few years now.
    Imagine how much better we would be right now with some of the lines we have had in the past.

  34. Deb says: Sep 20, 2011 1:24 PM

    dspyank2k11 says:

    This really isnt that big of a story. They didnt have an offensive line when they won the Super Bowl a few years back.

    Its all about Ben.

    ————————————————
    I suffered through those 21 years of scrubs between Terry and Ben, so I know what Ben is to the team. But GREAT quarterbacks don’t rely on natural talent alone. They keep working to build on their skills. Up to now, Ben hasn’t had that work ethic. As he gets older and less mobile, what he has in his head becomes more important and so does the line’s ability to protect him.

  35. Deb says: Sep 20, 2011 1:28 PM

    @feldman9000 …

    SBXXX was about guys playing 15 years ago. It doesn’t say anything about the 2011 team–anymore than SBs I and II say anything about the 2011 Packers. And if the Steelers are sooo overrated and irrelevant, why are you and your buddies constantly trolling our threads to mouth off? You certainly are preoccupied with this overrated, unimportant team. How flattering :)

  36. bostonbias says: Sep 20, 2011 1:30 PM

    Packer fans need to stop accusing other of living in the past, when all they talk about is 13 rings most of witch were earned when the majority of teams did not even exist and the NFL was a lot of small country teams…so year that is the same….

    The Modern ERA started with Super Bowl I.

  37. udontknowjaq says: Sep 20, 2011 1:45 PM

    Deb says:
    Sep 20, 2011 1:24 PM
    dspyank2k11 says:

    This really isnt that big of a story. They didnt have an offensive line when they won the Super Bowl a few years back.

    Its all about Ben.

    ————————————————
    I suffered through those 21 years of scrubs between Terry and Ben, so I know what Ben is to the team. But GREAT quarterbacks don’t rely on natural talent alone. They keep working to build on their skills. Up to now, Ben hasn’t had that work ethic. As he gets older and less mobile, what he has in his head becomes more important and so does the line’s ability to protect him.
    _________________________

    since the suspention last season Ben has had a better work ethic he even organized sum offseason workouts with the offense. 1 good thing to happen from that was it made him take his craft more seriously. Still need a line tho & I think the guards are the main problem but Colons injury didn’t help. The rookie got thrown in the fire, looked nervous at 1st but he calmed down & IMO played solid. Good to start againts Seattle, but I think he got some out his system & should be fine.

  38. radrntn says: Sep 20, 2011 1:54 PM

    @deb
    _____________________

    http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/09000d5d81c4802d

    it’s ok, everything you post is complete bs,

    bottom line it was a great play on mr glass chin.

  39. hillbillyjim says: Sep 20, 2011 1:56 PM

    What people don’t understand is that everything on Seattle is garbage, except for two things. Our DL is huge and built to stuff the run, our backers are decent too. Our secondary on the other hand reminds me of the MAC confrence. As for the guy saying your D was so good that the Hawks offense didn’t cross the 50 until 5 minutes left in the game… They should of never of crossed the 50 at all, we have the “Black Alex Smith” at QB don’t pump your chest too much. Oh and the other thing the Hawks are good at… We have a kick ass punter, and we’re gonna need him.

  40. bray72 says: Sep 20, 2011 1:56 PM

    @ Deb

    I truly respect your posts. But where do you get the kind of info. re: Ben’s work ethic? I read everything and NO one I know of has referenced that theory.

    Also, surely you must know that in free agency, no team can have outstanding players at every position. The steelers have chosen defense front 7 as their forte and some great offensive skill pos.
    Seems like they have done a better job with their limited resourses than 31 other teams over the last 6or 7 years.

  41. pdmjr says: Sep 20, 2011 1:56 PM

    The line did OK considering it had two men that were new. They were above the line according to Tomlin, Keomeatu will return this week and he is the road grader of the line. Where do people that write for this site get their info.?

  42. Henry says: Sep 20, 2011 1:57 PM

    I actually hope they make it past the first round of the playoffs so the Pats can whip their as.s.es as usual.

  43. steelersmichele says: Sep 20, 2011 2:03 PM

    feldman9000 says: Yah what happened with 7? Remember when you lost to the Cowboys in 30? That should be 8.

    That’s right–we’ve been to the Super Bowl 8 times. Same as Dallas. New England and Denver are tied next with 6. Not too many teams have had the opportunity to go to the big game.

    Instead of insulting the Steelers, you just complimented them. Thanks.

  44. Deb says: Sep 20, 2011 2:04 PM

    @udontknowjaq …

    Yes, I’m hoping Ben continues with those positive improvements. He has so much natural talent. I was also glad Gilbert can get his footing during the easier part of our schedule. Think it was better to give him the shot than bring back Flozell. I just miss the days when our line was the best in the league.

  45. ampatsisahypocrite says: Sep 20, 2011 2:12 PM

    Ben gets it done with garbage protection — you saw what Flacco did Sunday with a wee bit of pressure. Unlike week one, when he had time for coffee and a sandwich back there.

    That’s what puts Ben a cut above most any other QB. If Flacco (or Brady for that matter) had to face this kind of pressure week after week, they’d be epic FAILS. Ben gets it done with crap for protection. I’d like to see most other QBs and how they’d do behind this 0-line.

  46. dickroy says: Sep 20, 2011 3:28 PM

    I love defense. The great steel curtain was awesome in those 70′s Superbowl years. But I have said this before on here. Over the years we have also had some offensive lines that were awesome.

    Sam Davis
    Larry brown
    Jon Kolb
    Steve Courson
    Mike Webster
    Gerry Mullins
    Tunch Ilkin
    Graig Wolfley
    Alan Fanaca

    I’m sure I left some out

  47. Deb says: Sep 20, 2011 3:54 PM

    @radrntn …

    Wow. You posted a link to a clip of Seymour decking Roethlisberger. Where, pray tell, is your link showing that “big ben was talking smack about how the refs ‘won’t call [holding] because you are the raiders.’” Right, that link doesn’t exist because you invented that story. I know because this is what Seymour himself told the Contra Costa Times newspaper in California after the game:

    “Well, first of all, I thought I let my teammates down. You never want to do anything to hurt the team. That’s first and foremost. It was a lot of ongoing, and you’re out there to protect yourself. It’s still no excuse. I’m not sure exactly what happened on the play. I just turned around, and he just ran up on me quick. It was just natural reaction.”

    Did he say anything about Ben talking smack? NO.

    Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10326/1105208-66.stm?cmpid=sports.xml#ixzz1YWXwXfnE

  48. udontknowjaq says: Sep 20, 2011 4:05 PM

    radrntn says:
    Sep 20, 2011 1:54 PM
    @deb
    _____________________

    http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/09000d5d81c4802d

    it’s ok, everything you post is complete bs,

    bottom line it was a great play on mr glass chin.
    —————————–

    lls… Look Ben got 23 breaks in his face played a month later. He got titanum in his jaw and head from that accident. If you think that wasn’t a flop, you believe your own BS! Fact is ole boy went nuts cause the Raiders was match that day! Now that’s a cold hard FACT!

  49. Deb says: Sep 20, 2011 4:09 PM

    @bray72 …

    It’s gone back and forth with Ben. As Ed Bouchette of the Post-Gazette wrote in 2007: “The rap on Roethlisberger, fair or not, had been that he did not put in enough time at work in his first three seasons. His teammates agree that he has a new work ethic this year.”

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07249/815033-66.stm#ixzz1YWbZWl1x

    So apparently he buckled down that year and in 2008 we won another Super Bowl. But as we know, in 2009 we didn’t make the playoffs and Ben had tremendous problems in the off season. Hines was vocal about his emotional detachment from the team. During the suspension, he buckled down again, and I hope that’s continuing. But he hasn’t had the consistent work ethic throughout his career that Brady and Manning have demonstrated. It’s not enough to win–they both continually strive for personal excellence. I’m not sure he has that same mindset.

  50. Deb says: Sep 20, 2011 4:27 PM

    @bray72 …

    Oh, missed part 2 of your comment.

    Well … two schools of thought: One is that Ben causes more sacks than the line gives up. The other is–as ampatsisahypocrite said–that Ben gets it done in spite of horrible protection. I’m more in the second group. Ben does sometimes hold the ball too long, but his unique talents have enabled us to compete in spite of our leaky o-lines (that’s why I get frustrated with his inconsistent work ethic–he has so much talent). But his body won’t continue to take that pounding indefinitely. No, you can’t buy a perfect offensive line, but you can focus more on upgrading than we seem to have done.

  51. paulieorkid says: Sep 20, 2011 9:19 PM

    No question – the O-line certainly did not play well.

    And of course it’ll be another year where it’ll be Defcon 2 just a whisker from going Defcon 1.

    And Roethlisberger’s survival is Defcon 1 to nuclear holocaust. Nice how the zebras can’t find their whistles for the life of them in the face of the abuse Roethlisberger takes after he releases the ball.

    The Raheem Brock low shot is getting most of the pub, but Raheem didn’t appear to intend to go low. However, the hit that followed Brock’s hit did look like an unfettered and deliberate attempt to submarine a QB with unsteady knees. Fortunately, Roethlisberger didn’t get seriously injured. Why is no one mentioning that shot? Hit the DVR — it’s right there. My guess is it’s because Roethlisberger didn’t stay down after that shot.

    And as for Gilbert, his game went like a lot of the tape from him at UF — lots of top-heavy lunges and whiffs, frequently losing his balance after dekes or swims. Too many plays resulted in Gilbert trying to minimize damage rather than finishing his blocks and getting to the next level.

    Yeah, it’s his first start on Sundays as a rookie – but he’s got a long way to go. His attitude sounds great — let’s hope rapidly ascend up the learning curve, ‘cuz we sure as heck need the big boy to step up.

  52. Deb says: Sep 21, 2011 12:04 PM

    @paulieorkid … Tnx! Only saw 4th qtr online & couldn’t focus on line action. Will watch closely Sun. nite.

  53. paulieorkid says: Sep 21, 2011 9:52 PM

    Deb,

    Hopefully, the young Gilbert will develop into the player the Steelers sought (and need) — but I saw a lot of his same flaws when he was a Gator.

    As noted previously, Gilbert comes with a great attitude and a desire to improve – so there is hope, and his play wasn’t abysmal. It just has a ways to go.

    As for you, tap into the DVR angle — it’ll make your Steeler (or whatever you want to watch on TV) much more flexible/accommodating.

    Take care.

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