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mesaSteeler
08-24-2009, 08:10 AM
Steelers offensive line showing improvement early on
August 23, 10:01 PMPittsburgh Steelers Examiner
Daniel Flickinger
http://www.examiner.com/x-14024-Pittsburgh-Steelers-Examiner~y2009m8d23-Steelers-offensive-line-showing-improvement-early-on

Its still very early but it seems as if the Steelers offensive line may actually decrease its staggering number of 46 sacks surrendered last season.

Ben Roethlisberger just breathed a sigh of relief.

Well, that is if tackle Max Starks stays away from his feet.

Through the first two games of the preseason, the starting offensive line has not given up any sacks and as a group have only yielded two total. This despite starting center Justin Hartwig missing the first game against Arizona, starting left guard Chris Kemoeatu scratched Saturday in Washington, and starting right guard Darnell Stapleton out since the first week of training camp.

Not only has the line been solid in pass protection but the running game has also looked better.

Starting running back Rashard Mendenhall only averaged 2.6 yards on 9 carries against the Cardinals but he and Willie Parker faired much better against the Redskins as the two combined for 39 yards on 9 carries (4.3 average) and Parker scoring from three yards out. Rushing scores have accounted for all three of the Steelers touchdowns through the first two games.

You cant be great at every facet of the game, but it will be vital for the Steelers rushing offense to at least improve on its 2008 ranking of 23rd in the NFL.

Starks believes continuinity will be key in the the O-line taking strides this season.

Were one of the youngest position groups on the team, but having that year under our belts speaks volumes, Starks told The Tribune Democrat.

The offensive line is a unique position. You need chemistry. You need experience. This offensive line is a very close-knit unit. We have set a lot of goals for ourselves. There are some things we have to clean up from last year, so were just taking it one day at a time and hoping to get better and better.

Its far from a completed product, but so far, so good.