Steelers' offensive line under scrutiny

With 31 days left until the Steelers open the regular season, the offensive line finds itself the subject of great debate. Full Story
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Steven Stuart

San Francisco, CA

#1 Aug 10, 2009
I am sorry, I can not take it. We won Super Bowl XLIII (43) not Super Bowl XVIII(18). I am sure it will be fixed soon.
Mike T

Jersey City, NJ

#2 Aug 12, 2009
Hi "The York Daily Record."

Please re-write your lame article to correctly read:

Steelers' offensive line polish their Super Bowl rings while dooooshbags have them under scrutiny"
Bob Roberts

Butler, PA

#3 Aug 13, 2009
Mike T wrote:
Hi "The York Daily Record."
Please re-write your lame article to correctly read:
Steelers' offensive line polish their Super Bowl rings while dooooshbags have them under scrutiny"
noshit! who the hell writes these lameass articles. probably a bills fans or a browns fan.

Since: Apr 08

Omaha, NE

#4 Aug 22, 2009
They're not the best offensive line unit in the NFL last year. But they are the best offensive line unit to win a superbowl last year. That's okay with me.

I, for one, will give them until game 4 to prove their worth before I demand a first round linemen next year.
Jopa-n

United States

#5 Aug 22, 2009
LZ-Steel wrote:
They're not the best offensive line unit in the NFL last year. But they are the best offensive line unit to win a superbowl last year. That's okay with me.
I, for one, will give them until game 4 to prove their worth before I demand a first round linemen next year.
My feeling is that it's going to be a trade off. Some parts will be better due to continuity while some parts will still suffer due to players who are good at one thing and not good at another. Example: Colon may be better at run blocking the edge but as the first preseason game indicates (procedure penalty for not lining up parrallel to the line), he gets squeamish when the DE/OLB is a good speed rusher. Show me a penalty like that and I'll show you a player that feels he needs to cheat back because he fears he lacks the quicks to square up on his adversary on a wide rush. Nothing to chortle about but not the end of the world when the QB is named 'Big Ben'.

Since: Apr 08

Omaha, NE

#6 Aug 26, 2009
Jo...exactly what I mean! Big Ben. Doesn't matter if you have Peyton Manning's offensive line, Tom Brady's offensive line, Eli Manning's offensive line, or friggin Seattle's weak ass offensive line. Ben puts his linemen in a position to be scrutinized. Now, that's not to say some of them don't suck! Colon at tackle? Stapleton at guard? Starks as our LT? Oh dear god. That's a disaster in the making. But Roeth kind of gives a defense a reason to come after him. He NEVER GIVES UP ON A PLAY...EVER! He doesn't throw it away. He doesn't do screens very well, and he'll never dump the ball off to a RB before its too late...so that the RB is stopped at or before the line.

The offense is a mess. I just hope Arians will take advantage of Sweed and Wallace and use more 3-4 WR sets. This 2/3-TE set is not working if you only have one TE and NO backs that can block.
Jopa-n

United States

#7 Aug 26, 2009
LZ-Steel wrote:
Jo...exactly what I mean! Big Ben. Doesn't matter if you have Peyton Manning's offensive line, Tom Brady's offensive line, Eli Manning's offensive line, or friggin Seattle's weak ass offensive line. Ben puts his linemen in a position to be scrutinized. Now, that's not to say some of them don't suck! Colon at tackle? Stapleton at guard? Starks as our LT? Oh dear god. That's a disaster in the making. But Roeth kind of gives a defense a reason to come after him. He NEVER GIVES UP ON A PLAY...EVER! He doesn't throw it away. He doesn't do screens very well, and he'll never dump the ball off to a RB before its too late...so that the RB is stopped at or before the line.
The offense is a mess. I just hope Arians will take advantage of Sweed and Wallace and use more 3-4 WR sets. This 2/3-TE set is not working if you only have one TE and NO backs that can block.
I'm with Rod Woodson on this issue. Rod was asked last week what the Steelers must do to have any chance to repeat. His answer was the OL must do better so they can run the ball better. When asked about the number of sacks given up and Ben holding the ball to long, Woodson said he attibutes about 8 sacks out of the 53 to that.
After watching all 53 sacks numerous times, Ben was thrown into a firestorm quite often. Yep, he could have thrown it away more often but then you also the 65 yard TD's with it. You also probably lose the best 3rd down conversion rate by a QB for the season.
It's like Tomlin has stated- you live with the bad results because the great results far outnumber the bad. Notice I said great and not good. The 'splash' plays come from Ben's knack to help the rec. find an open space. Those plays usually, at least last year, were critical to victory. Say what you want, but a completion made at the point of a defensive breakdown has a tremendously better chance to effect the final outcome of a game. Just ask the Ravens coaching staff. When asked what the most important factor to beating Pittsburgh is this year, the defensive cord. said-#1 get Ben on the ground.

“The Lombardi Sixpack”

Since: Feb 08

Butler, PA

#8 Aug 26, 2009
Jopa-n wrote:
<quoted text>I'm with Rod Woodson on this issue. Rod was asked last week what the Steelers must do to have any chance to repeat. His answer was the OL must do better so they can run the ball better. When asked about the number of sacks given up and Ben holding the ball to long, Woodson said he attibutes about 8 sacks out of the 53 to that.
After watching all 53 sacks numerous times, Ben was thrown into a firestorm quite often. Yep, he could have thrown it away more often but then you also the 65 yard TD's with it. You also probably lose the best 3rd down conversion rate by a QB for the season.
It's like Tomlin has stated- you live with the bad results because the great results far outnumber the bad. Notice I said great and not good. The 'splash' plays come from Ben's knack to help the rec. find an open space. Those plays usually, at least last year, were critical to victory. Say what you want, but a completion made at the point of a defensive breakdown has a tremendously better chance to effect the final outcome of a game. Just ask the Ravens coaching staff. When asked what the most important factor to beating Pittsburgh is this year, the defensive cord. said-#1 get Ben on the ground.
and last year the ravens defenders were constantly going for a kill shot on ben and he burned him. it seemed like only lewis and suggs had the brains to wrap him up and just hang on until help comes. ben is really hard to tackle. I think like posted earlier, we need to do better on first down. be it a run or a pass we need 5 yards on first down. once that happens the game is ours.
Rex J Steelman

Slippery Rock, PA

#9 Aug 26, 2009
Jopa-n wrote:
<quoted text>I'm with Rod Woodson on this issue. Rod was asked last week what the Steelers must do to have any chance to repeat. His answer was the OL must do better so they can run the ball better. When asked about the number of sacks given up and Ben holding the ball to long, Woodson said he attibutes about 8 sacks out of the 53 to that.
After watching all 53 sacks numerous times, Ben was thrown into a firestorm quite often. Yep, he could have thrown it away more often but then you also the 65 yard TD's with it. You also probably lose the best 3rd down conversion rate by a QB for the season.
It's like Tomlin has stated- you live with the bad results because the great results far outnumber the bad. Notice I said great and not good. The 'splash' plays come from Ben's knack to help the rec. find an open space. Those plays usually, at least last year, were critical to victory. Say what you want, but a completion made at the point of a defensive breakdown has a tremendously better chance to effect the final outcome of a game. Just ask the Ravens coaching staff. When asked what the most important factor to beating Pittsburgh is this year, the defensive cord. said-#1 get Ben on the ground.
All of which is why I argue that the Steelers passing game is NOT some kind of unstoppable juggernaut miles ahead of the run game. The more I look at last year's games (I've been watching them as they become available on my cable package), the more I think BOTH facets of the offense sucked most of the time. I don't necessarily believe the offensive personnel are better suited to the pass--in fact, you point out yourself that Colon is much more comfortable run-blocking, and I believe the same is true of Kemoeatu. Commit to using a FB, bouncing plays outside once in a while, and sometimes using someone other than Parker, and I think the line would be elated. When you have a line who's best attribute is size and strength (as opposed to foot speed and finesse), I say let them have a serious chance to play runaway bulldozer.

Since: Apr 08

Monroe, LA

#10 Aug 26, 2009
I see points from all you guys. And believe me, I'd rather have Ben then any other QB in the league, past or present.

I suppose I should admit that the offense is not quite the horrid monstrocity that I usually label it as. I mean, we're not the Browns. It probably just needs a few tweaks to be turned from a weakness to a strength. I just wonder if our OC has the will or brains (or both) to do it.
Jopa-n

United States

#12 Aug 27, 2009
Rex J Steelman wrote:
<quoted text>
All of which is why I argue that the Steelers passing game is NOT some kind of unstoppable juggernaut miles ahead of the run game. The more I look at last year's games (I've been watching them as they become available on my cable package), the more I think BOTH facets of the offense sucked most of the time. I don't necessarily believe the offensive personnel are better suited to the pass--in fact, you point out yourself that Colon is much more comfortable run-blocking, and I believe the same is true of Kemoeatu. Commit to using a FB, bouncing plays outside once in a while, and sometimes using someone other than Parker, and I think the line would be elated. When you have a line who's best attribute is size and strength (as opposed to foot speed and finesse), I say let them have a serious chance to play runaway bulldozer.
Your points are well taken. Put it all on paper, look at the overall numbers, play it strictly from the bottom line of ydg. totals, and you are 100% correct. I don't think the passing offense is a well oiled machine. But you have to consider that the totals that the passing game, and the offense overall amassed, were effected by down and distance just as much as trying to run on 1st down and the entire defense knew it.
If you look at individual drives that ended in punts throughout the season, many times poor ability to run the ball created a 3rd and long situation, that tilted the field in favor of the defense. Even so, with all the 4th qtr. majestics we saw- obvious pass situations yet excelled anyway- that in and of itself begs the question,'What if they had thrown more out of the gate in the first place', or 'what if teams were NOT able to mark down certain downs and offensive formations as an almost definite Pittsburgh running situation so they could cheat up to the line and overload the gaps?'.
Even for the running game it could help. Remember how bad the then Houston Oilers used to burn the Steelers with 4 and 5 wide sets on draw plays by forcing so much attention to the pass defense? The per carry average of #44 for the Oilers used to drive me nuts, especially when they got them in third and long and they RAN for the first down.
By the way I love these debates- this is what it all about!

“The Lombardi Sixpack”

Since: Feb 08

Butler, PA

#13 Aug 27, 2009
Jopa-n wrote:
<quoted text>Your points are well taken. Put it all on paper, look at the overall numbers, play it strictly from the bottom line of ydg. totals, and you are 100% correct. I don't think the passing offense is a well oiled machine. But you have to consider that the totals that the passing game, and the offense overall amassed, were effected by down and distance just as much as trying to run on 1st down and the entire defense knew it.
If you look at individual drives that ended in punts throughout the season, many times poor ability to run the ball created a 3rd and long situation, that tilted the field in favor of the defense. Even so, with all the 4th qtr. majestics we saw- obvious pass situations yet excelled anyway- that in and of itself begs the question,'What if they had thrown more out of the gate in the first place', or 'what if teams were NOT able to mark down certain downs and offensive formations as an almost definite Pittsburgh running situation so they could cheat up to the line and overload the gaps?'.
Even for the running game it could help. Remember how bad the then Houston Oilers used to burn the Steelers with 4 and 5 wide sets on draw plays by forcing so much attention to the pass defense? The per carry average of #44 for the Oilers used to drive me nuts, especially when they got them in third and long and they RAN for the first down.
By the way I love these debates- this is what it all about!
pass or run just move the damn ball. what i don't like from the OC is lack of creativity and lack of adjustments. they almost never mix it up or when they do, it's a weird time to do it. for instance you're running the ball and moving the chains and then arians goes with 4 WRs and an empty backfield on first down for a sack and a loss. he seems to have a browns-like ability to quit what is working...hmmm oh yeah he was oc for the browns. go figure. the same is in the reverse (so to speak). we can be moving the chains with passes and doing real well and once we're in FG range, he suddenly calls 3 straight running plays up the middle with parker. again, a browns like mentality. good thing our D is so awesome to keep the game close enough for big ben to do his sandlot thing at the end of the game.
Jopa-n

United States

#14 Aug 27, 2009
Bob Roberts wrote:
<quoted text>
pass or run just move the damn ball. what i don't like from the OC is lack of creativity and lack of adjustments. they almost never mix it up or when they do, it's a weird time to do it. for instance you're running the ball and moving the chains and then arians goes with 4 WRs and an empty backfield on first down for a sack and a loss. he seems to have a browns-like ability to quit what is working...hmmm oh yeah he was oc for the browns. go figure. the same is in the reverse (so to speak). we can be moving the chains with passes and doing real well and once we're in FG range, he suddenly calls 3 straight running plays up the middle with parker. again, a browns like mentality. good thing our D is so awesome to keep the game close enough for big ben to do his sandlot thing at the end of the game.
Amen. If Tomlin's defensive mind set is to get them to 'defend every blade of grass', should not the offensive philosophy be something like gain every blade of grass you can?

“The Lombardi Sixpack”

Since: Feb 08

Butler, PA

#15 Aug 27, 2009
Jopa-n wrote:
<quoted text>Amen. If Tomlin's defensive mind set is to get them to 'defend every blade of grass', should not the offensive philosophy be something like gain every blade of grass you can?
well put. the D totally outshines the offense under bruce arians. Arians took over from whiz in 2007. whiz left him the #7 offense in the nfl and in two season arians has managed drop each year. in 2007 dropped 10 spots to rank #17 in offense. as if that wasn't bad enough last season we dropped 6 more spots to rank #22...that is not a good performance review imo. meanwhile the D just gets better and better which begs the question...why does arians still have a job? you take a top ten offense and drive it down to the 23rd offense or ironically 10th worst in the league and you keep cashing a paycheck? tomlin needs dump this guy.

“Steelers Forever”

Since: Dec 07

Cranberry Township PA

#16 Aug 27, 2009
Lively discussion I see. I'm afraid the O line problem is going to be with us again this year and it will remain as long as Zerlien is running it. Yes, BA deserves to take some heat also, but if coach T considers the numbers that Bob pointed out AND we continue to see a decline, there may be a change next year. Tomlin inherited BA at the Rooneys urging and BA brought in Zerlein. Oh well. C'mon 7.

STEELERS ROCK !!!

Since: Apr 08

Omaha, NE

#17 Aug 27, 2009
Bill in Cranberry wrote:
Lively discussion I see. I'm afraid the O line problem is going to be with us again this year and it will remain as long as Zerlien is running it. Yes, BA deserves to take some heat also, but if coach T considers the numbers that Bob pointed out AND we continue to see a decline, there may be a change next year. Tomlin inherited BA at the Rooneys urging and BA brought in Zerlein. Oh well. C'mon 7.
STEELERS ROCK !!!
Coach Zirloin needs to be put on the grill. If he can't make that line define a role, he doesn't deserve the job. Are they a pass protecting or run blocking line? Are they a zone blocking or gap charging line? His lack of a defined mind set on that line has them running around like chickens with their heads cut off. Can you have that perfect combo of run blocking and pass protection? Sure...just not with that personnel.
Rex J Steelman

Slippery Rock, PA

#18 Aug 27, 2009
LZ-Steel wrote:
<quoted text>
Coach Zirloin needs to be put on the grill. If he can't make that line define a role, he doesn't deserve the job. Are they a pass protecting or run blocking line? Are they a zone blocking or gap charging line? His lack of a defined mind set on that line has them running around like chickens with their heads cut off. Can you have that perfect combo of run blocking and pass protection? Sure...just not with that personnel.
Well put. Maybe that's really what I'm bitching about--the lack of an identity of any kind for this line. I somehow think still that they are more suited to attacking than thinking and reacting.
Jopa-n

United States

#19 Aug 27, 2009
I'm watching games all week now and wondering one thing in all of them. Where are the comeback routes?
Guys are breaking off the line trying to drive the defenders off them and turning and stopping- waiting for the ball to get to them. Meanwhile, defenders get pushed upfield but have the time to run back and breakup the pass.
Why not move the defender up field about 3 more yards, turn and comeback to the same spot. Now, moving back toward the QB, your keeping the seperation you worked so hard for and catching the ball at the same point. It also helps to shield the defender better and makes it a safer throw. Santonio on a ten yard comeback is almost a lock and a super safe pass if Ben keeps it to the outside. It then sets up Holmes for the stop and go route later on.
Rex J Steelman

Slippery Rock, PA

#20 Aug 27, 2009
Bob Roberts wrote:
<quoted text>
well put. the D totally outshines the offense under bruce arians. Arians took over from whiz in 2007. whiz left him the #7 offense in the nfl and in two season arians has managed drop each year. in 2007 dropped 10 spots to rank #17 in offense. as if that wasn't bad enough last season we dropped 6 more spots to rank #22...that is not a good performance review imo. meanwhile the D just gets better and better which begs the question...why does arians still have a job? you take a top ten offense and drive it down to the 23rd offense or ironically 10th worst in the league and you keep cashing a paycheck? tomlin needs dump this guy.
I hadn't thought of it this way, but you're right. SB or not, those numbers constitute failure at his job. The SB win will insulate him for a while, though.
Rex J Steelman

Slippery Rock, PA

#21 Aug 27, 2009
Jopa-n wrote:
<quoted text>Your points are well taken. Put it all on paper, look at the overall numbers, play it strictly from the bottom line of ydg. totals, and you are 100% correct. I don't think the passing offense is a well oiled machine. But you have to consider that the totals that the passing game, and the offense overall amassed, were effected by down and distance just as much as trying to run on 1st down and the entire defense knew it.
If you look at individual drives that ended in punts throughout the season, many times poor ability to run the ball created a 3rd and long situation, that tilted the field in favor of the defense. Even so, with all the 4th qtr. majestics we saw- obvious pass situations yet excelled anyway- that in and of itself begs the question,'What if they had thrown more out of the gate in the first place', or 'what if teams were NOT able to mark down certain downs and offensive formations as an almost definite Pittsburgh running situation so they could cheat up to the line and overload the gaps?'.
Even for the running game it could help. Remember how bad the then Houston Oilers used to burn the Steelers with 4 and 5 wide sets on draw plays by forcing so much attention to the pass defense? The per carry average of #44 for the Oilers used to drive me nuts, especially when they got them in third and long and they RAN for the first down.
By the way I love these debates- this is what it all about!
Your arguments are good, too. I guess it does come down to what LZ said about the line having SOME kind of identity.

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