View Full Version : No need to break down Steelers Offensive Line

08-23-2010, 03:55 PM
Preseason Game 1: Mendenhall has 5 attempts for 2 yards (0.4 yards per rush)

Preseason Game 2: Mendenhall has 8 attempts for 11 yards (1.4 yards per rush)

Last week we broke down the film of Flozell Adams. During that process we noticed that the guy in the black/gold jersey a few feet down the line from Flozell was also putting together his own low-light tape. Chris Kemoeatu was getting beaten on routine inside moves/blitzes. We then shift our focus to Maurkice Pouncey and notice the guy directly to his right (Trai Essex) looked like the worst starting Guard in the NFL. Fast forward a week and we watch Max Starks and Justin Hartwig get burned a few times in limited action.

I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know but the Steelers Offensive Line is awful. I highlighted Flozell Adams last week as if he was the main problem with the OL. “Hey guys, look how bad Flozell played, if not for him we’d have ourselves one heck of an offensive line!” Nothing could be further from the truth. It would be nice if Flozell was playing fantastic football but that still wouldn’t fix what’s wrong with the line. There are 4 or 5 guys on the OL playing below average football, one or two guys playing at a Pro Bowl level isn’t even enough to save this bunch.

Left Tackle: Max Starks – One of my favorite players on the entire team but he is what he is. He’ll get burned on occasion and isn’t very dominant in any facet of the game.

Left Guard: Chris Kemoeatu — I expected big things from Kemo over the past few years but he hasn’t materialzed into the player I thought he would become. I now question how many NFL teams Kemo could start for. In his draft year, the common belief was that his draft status dropped because he was seen as a headcase, a guy that couldn’t control his emotions. Perhaps he fell in the draft because he has major flaws and perhaps isn’t a guy you should pencil into your lineup as an unchallenged starter each year.

Center: Justin Hartwig — His days as a starter are numbered. He is average but struggles against the large DT/NTs in the AFC North. He can’t get a push in short-yardage situations and routinely gets pushed into his own backfield.

Right Guard: Trai Essex — Would he start for anyone else in the league? The Steelers could probably pick up a cut/waived OL from another team next week to come in an upgrade this position. They won’t do it though.

Right Tackle: Flozell Adams — He has lost a step or two (or three or four) and it’s very apparent why Dallas felt like it was time to cut him loose. Is he going to pick things up once the regular season starts? Who knows. As of right now though, it looks like he could be a huge weakness. That’s obviously bad news but if everyone else on the OL stinks too, I don’t think we should point to Flozell and blame him for all that is wrong with the line.

Conclusion: Every time we break down an individual lineman and point out his flaws/errors we are actually giving the other 4 guys on the line a free pass. For every terrible snap Flozell has, Kemo has one of his own. For every time Hartwig gets pushed into the backfield on 3rd and goal, Essex is doing the same. See Max Starks get roasted for a sack? Well 4 plays later our TE missed a block and have up a 5 yard loss as well. The Steelers can win a Super Bowl this year in spite of this group of offensive linemen; they have done it before.

I don’t want this negative OLine post to come off as a drag on the entire team, it wasn’t meant to be that way…..but I think the close scrutiny of the OL might become redundant after a while. What is left to say?

They’re all average to slightly below average.

Pouncey is a future Pro Bowler and will be starting in a few weeks. He is the first step toward fixing what’s wrong with the OL.

Foster/Urbik can challenge for playing time at RG but neither of them are very impressive; swapping a below average Essex for an “average” Urbik or Foster won’t fix the OL.

Plugging in Scott for Flozell Adams won’t solve anything.

In years past we broke down every snap, every sack, every good play/bad play to judge and score the Oline because the jury was still out on some of these guys. We all wanted Mahan to get replaced, we wanted Kendall Simmons gone, we were unsure about Kemo, we thought Starks should be starting at RT instead of Colon, we were implementing a new zone-blocking scheme, etc…..those were times of change. The line we have right now is more or less the same cast of characters we’ve been dealing with for the past few years. How many more times can we drill into people’s heads via photos/videos that Hartwig can’t get a push? Do we need to break down Essex’s lack of skill to convince you that he doesn’t deserve to be an NFL starter?

Having said all this we’ll still check out what everyone else is writing/blogging/chatting about in regards to the OL play and we’ll still do all the same breakdowns we’ve always done (for entertainment purposes) but in reality I don’t think much more deliberating is needed. The jury is in on this OL and the case is closed. The Offensive Line is way below average and outside of Maurkice Pouncey, there are no internal candidates capable of stepping in and improving the overall play of the line.

The Lakelander
08-23-2010, 04:19 PM
Wow ... doesn't anybody reply to these posts?

08-23-2010, 04:23 PM
You left out Colon with his 2 penalties per game! :rofl:

08-23-2010, 04:47 PM
this isnt me saying this, its an article i copied

08-23-2010, 04:50 PM
Both games I've watched Hills play in, he has easily been our BEST O-Linemen. Even better than Pouncey.

08-23-2010, 05:01 PM
Good read. I think it was a *tad* harsh though.

08-23-2010, 05:10 PM
I think the article was pretty spot on,..unfortunately

08-23-2010, 05:36 PM
pouncey is playing much better then anyone else but i feel hills is also doing decent. essex needs to go. he isnt even a good backup let alone a starter.