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mesaSteeler
12-23-2010, 10:44 AM
Bires: Maligned line has been OK
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By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times
http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sports_details/article/1501/2010/december/23/panthers-vs-steelers-inside-the-game.html
Thursday December 23, 2010 12:14 AM

Times photo by LUCY SCHALY Rookie Maurkice Pouncey prepares to snap to Charlie.

PITTSBURGH — Flash back to the Steelers’ last Super Bowl win, that 27-23 thriller over the Arizona Cardinals. Remember, if you can, the first words out of Ben Roethlisberger’s mouth when he put his hands on the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

He didn’t thank God.

He didn’t say how wonderful it felt to win a second championship at the age of 26.

He didn’t say how proud he was to be a part of yet another glorious moment in Steelers history.

No, what Roethlisberger said first to a world-wide TV audience was this: “Who’s laughing now O-line?”

That was Roethlisberger’s way of paying tribute to an offensive line that was questioned and criticized for most of 2008. But it was a line good enough to pave the way for the sixth Super Bowl victory in franchise history.

The Steelers’ O-line of 2010 hasn’t been getting much respect either.

It’s been fashionable to bash the front wall, especially after a Roethlisberger sack, or after a red zone failure or after some of the holding calls that have stymied the offense in recent weeks.

There’s even this “New York Life Protection Index” that ranks NFL O-lines based on how well they protect their quarterback. Right now, the Steelers rank 26.

But considering the chaos on the Steelers’ offensive line this season, it’s a position that deserves credit.

Remember, right tackle Flozell Adams, a 35-year-old veteran, wasn’t signed until late July as a replacement for injured Willie Colon.

When the Steelers went to camp, Justin Hartwig was the first-team center. But by the time camp broke, rookie Maurkice Pouncey had taken over.
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Then halfway into the season, left tackle Max Starks was done for the year with a neck injury.

At right guard, there have been three different starters: Trai Essex, Doug Legursky and Ramon Foster.

Yet, the Steelers are 10-4 right now and on the verge of winning the AFC North Division and earning the No. 2 playoff seed in the AFC. The offense hasn’t necessarily been super. But it’s been good enough.

Rashard Mendenhall ranks seventh in the league with 1,173 rushing yards. Mike Wallace ranks sixth with 1,048 receiving yards. Roethlisberger ranks 10th with a 92.6 passer rating.

Yes, the Steelers do allow too many sacks. They’re tied for 28th in the league with most sacks allowed at 38. And yes, Jonathan Scott has struggled at times at left tackle in place of Starks.

Still, the performance of the O-line overall this season has been more positive than negative.

Take this past Sunday’s 22-17 loss to the New York Jets for example. True, the Steelers didn’t finish the job. Their last-minute drive fell short. But in that game, the Steelers racked up 378 yards of offense and had 25 first downs against one of the NFL’s stingiest defenses.

Overall, the offensive line probably played its best game of the season.

It’s a bit premature to think the Steelers will win another Super Bowl this season. But they’ve positioned themselves well to this point.

They cannot take anyone lightly when the playoffs begin. On the other hand, no one should take the Steelers lightly.

That speaks volumes of an offensive line that may be peaking just at the right time.

Fire Arians
12-23-2010, 11:53 AM
essex should take scott's position at guard. We all know essex sucked horribly at guard, but to be honest he's decent as a tackle. All the games ive seen him play at tackle he's played well. Well, at least much better than he has at guard, and better than what we have in scott.

with that said, I thought our O-line had a great game on sunday minus that play in the endzone. but calling a slow developing play on our own 3 with our 3rd string RB was more to do with the stupidity of arians. At the very least I'd like to know why mendenhall wasn't in there. Game on the line and we need a comeback, why isn't our best player in the game?

mesaSteeler
12-23-2010, 01:11 PM
essex should take scott's position at guard. We all know essex sucked horribly at guard, but to be honest he's decent as a tackle. All the games ive seen him play at tackle he's played well. Well, at least much better than he has at guard, and better than what we have in scott.

with that said, I thought our O-line had a great game on sunday minus that play in the endzone. but calling a slow developing play on our own 3 with our 3rd string RB was more to do with the stupidity of arians. At the very least I'd like to know why mendenhall wasn't in there. Game on the line and we need a comeback, why isn't our best player in the game?

Because Mendy is a running back and Tomlin and Arians are pass happy. Arians was tying to fool the Jets and all he did was make a fool out of himself.

SH-Rock
12-23-2010, 01:51 PM
Sean Kugler had really done a good job with what he had.

mesaSteeler
12-23-2010, 03:02 PM
Sean Kugler had really done a good job with what he had.

Completely agree. It makes me wonder why Tomlin tolerated our former O-Line coach for so long.