Season after season the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive line is always a concern. It’s become routine for the line to be below average and often pitiful. The 2013 season may bring about some changes if the Steelers’ coaching staff makes the right moves and most importantly, injuries are not a factor. If the coaching staff is smart, the offensive line should look like this: Marcus Gilbert at left tackle, David DeCastro at left guard, Maurkice Pouncey at center, Ramone Foster at right guard and Mike Adams at right tackle. This lineup should benefit the Steelers for the upcoming season and here’s why.
Marcus Gilbert at left tackle makes sense considering he’s had the experience in college. He’s comfortable with the position, has solid foot work and is a solid run blocker. Gilbert does lack stellar athleticism and by no means is he an elite player in the NFL. He also struggles with pass protection but should the Steelers become more serious in their run game, then this is minimized for Gilbert. Despite not being an outstanding player, Gilbert can get away with being “good enough” to help the Steelers win games.
David DeCastro, the first round pick of last year’s draft for the Steelers, had the misfortune of being injured in the third preseason game of last year. There is a lot of promise in this young man; he is being compared to Alan Faneca who was a tremendous player for the Steelers. Although DeCastro doesn’t look to be the one who will be playing left guard for now, the Steelers should consider moving him to this postion. DeCastro at left guard is the right move because of how athletic he is. DeCastro is not the biggest or strongest o-linemen out there and has struggled with the physical aspect of the game. Having him on the left also improves the screen game for the Steelers. If Todd Haley is going to keep the “dink and dunk” offensive plays in the book in an effort to keep Ben Roethlisberger from taking a lot of hits, DeCastro vastly improves the screen game due to his quickness and athletic abilities. DeCastro could be the next big thing for the Steelers o-line as long as he can avoid another severe injury.
Maurkice Pouncey is the heart of the Steelers offensive line. There aren’t too many negatives to list about him. The only thing noteworthy would be his history with late season injuries. Aside from that, Pouncey continues to improve every season at the center position. Pouncey has a mean streak about him, a streak that leads him to play nasty and that’s something every line should have. A player with a mean streak is nothing but a positive. Just like anyone on this line, staying healthy is a key factor for Pouncey.
Ramone Foster is probably the most experienced starting lineman the Steelers have this season. Foster provides great size and power at right guard. His size and strength will help the run game that the Steelers should be focusing on this season. The team drafted Le’veon Bell in the recent draft due to lack of talent at the running back position and to establish a running game to compliment the pass attack. Having Foster at this position gives the team a better chance of finding that complementing run game.
Mike Adams playing on the left side of the line last season was not the right move. Adams struggled when playing on the left side and this led to Roethlisberger paying the price. He lacks quickness and therefore should be moved to right tackle. At this position he can assert his run blocking dominance. Adams is a big, strong lineman and can improve the run game for the Steelers greatly. Adams recently was in the headlines for being stabbed during a night out in Pittsburgh but is expected to make a full recovery and be ready to go for the season.
If the Steelers choose to put these linemen in these positions, the team should feel optimistic about the performance their line will put on this season. Overall, the main factor will be how healthy they all can stay. Should any of these men suffer long term injuries, the Steelers will be in trouble. The Steelers lack depth when it comes to their offensive line this season. A healthy line means a healthy Ben Roethlisberger; Big Ben is the backbone of this team and is an elite quarterback when he is in full swing. A strong and healthy offensive line is a main ingredient for a successful season in the steel city.