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Old 12-19-2008, 04:45 PM   #1
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Default Hartwig believes Steelers line finally jelling

Hartwig believes Steelers line finally jelling
By Jim Wexell , For the Herald-Standard
http://www.heraldstandard.com/site/n...d=468632&rfi=6

PITTSBURGH - Two weeks after surrendering five sacks to the NFL's best pass-rushing team, the Pittsburgh Steelers are feeling better about their offensive line.
The five sacks by the Dallas Cowboys represents the high mark against the Steelers in the past 11 games. Only the Philadelphia Eagles, with nine sacks in Week 3, have gotten more. But the Steelers have given up only nine sacks in their last four games, a four-game low for the season.

Finally, the line appears to be jelling.

"We definitely had our ups and downs," said center Justin Hartwig. "But we basically had five new guys who came together. To become a really good offensive line, you need time to jell. It's not just communicating, but understanding where guys are going to be and operating efficiently as a unit.

"I think it's just been a matter of time, but we've been in the trenches together now for several months and we have a really good understanding of each other and we're getting better every week."

Hartwig will face his former team Sunday when the 11-3 Steelers play the 12-2 Tennessee Titans with the AFC's top seed at stake. Hartwig was drafted by the Titans in the sixth round in 2002, but left after the 2005 season when the team couldn't match a five-year, $17 million offer from the Carolina Panthers, that included $11 million guaranteed over two years. But after those two years, the Panthers let Hartwig go. He ended up in Pittsburgh, where he beat out Sean Mahan for the job, only to find himself in the middle of a revamped line that couldn't pick up a blitz.

But that was then.

"The more we play the better we've become," Hartwig said. "Early in the season you were worried about the bigger concepts of every play. Now, we understand the concepts and we're focusing on the little technique things and communicating with the running backs, communicating with the quarterback, to let them know, for example, when a hot guy's coming up somebody's gap, and nobody's responsible for him, that we have to block down and get him and the quarterback has got to understand whoever else will come."

The Steelers allowed only three sacks in 46 dropbacks against the blitz-happy Ravens in noisy Baltimore last week.
This week, the Steelers travel to Nashville where the fifth-ranked Titans defense will attempt to add to its 38 sacks. They'll be without Pro Bowl run-stuffer Albert Haynesworth and defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, who've combined for 13 of those 38 sacks. The Titans' depth up front, though, is respected by NFL talent evaluators.

"They've always had the talent there, for the most part, and they've got a great coaching staff," said Hartwig, who's not surprised by his former team's sudden success.

"The coaching staff's been in place so many years now. I know in the offensive line room there's been a lot of continuity there and they've got a great offensive line coach. He's great on technique. I'm not really surprised at their record. I just think it was a matter of time for them to get the right personnel."

NOTES - The only player to miss Thursday's practice for the Steelers was offensive tackle Marvel Smith, who'll miss his 10th straight game with back problems. ... The only Titan to miss Thursday's practice, aside from Haynesworth and Vanden Bosch, was reserve cornerback Cary Williams.
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Old 12-19-2008, 04:51 PM   #2
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Default Re: Hartwig believes Steelers line finally jelling

Now if we can just get Colon to stop holding (or at least stop getting caught) and nullifying big plays....
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Old 12-19-2008, 04:56 PM   #3
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Default Re: Hartwig believes Steelers line finally jelling

Well let's hope they continue to get better. We could use some consistency for our running game.
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Old 12-19-2008, 05:02 PM   #4
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Default Re: Hartwig believes Steelers line finally jelling

I just want to see the "jell" at the goal line and score some frickin' points. But it sure is good to see Ben on his feet more often than not.
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Old 12-19-2008, 05:02 PM   #5
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Default Re: Hartwig believes Steelers line finally jelling

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Originally Posted by fansince'76 View Post
Now if we can just get Colon to stop holding (or at least stop getting caught) and nullifying big plays....
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"We're not going to turn our backs on him," Ward said. "We're going to treat him like our brother. We're going to accept him back and be very supportive of him and help him get through this. In this locker room, he's still our quarterback."
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Old 12-19-2008, 05:04 PM   #6
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Default Re: Hartwig believes Steelers line finally jelling

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Originally Posted by 43Hitman View Post
Well let's hope they continue to get better. We could use some consistency for our running game.
With Haynesworth and Bosch out, we should be able to improve on our running game this weekend.
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Old 12-19-2008, 05:06 PM   #7
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Default Re: Hartwig believes Steelers line finally jelling

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Originally Posted by stillers4me View Post
I just want to see the "jell" at the goal line and score some frickin' points. But it sure is good to see Ben on his feet more often than not.
I still have nightmares of seeing GR and Moore getting stuffed at the goal line. Ben has stepped it up, much more vision and wisely gets rid of the ball if all the targets are covered. Let's hope they have patched the majority of holes just in time for the playoffs.
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Old 12-19-2008, 05:10 PM   #8
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Default Re: Hartwig believes Steelers line finally jelling

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Originally Posted by fansince'76 View Post
Now if we can just get Colon to stop holding (or at least stop getting caught) and nullifying big plays....
yeah more of the "getting caught" part rofl
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Old 12-19-2008, 05:13 PM   #9
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Default Re: Hartwig believes Steelers line finally jelling

Oh great, now the O-line is getting profanityfilterprofanityfilterprofanityfilterprofa nityfiltery.

Slap some salve on them swolled heads boys, you ain't won in the playoffs yet.
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Old 12-19-2008, 05:17 PM   #10
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Default Re: Hartwig believes Steelers line finally jelling

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Originally Posted by Killer View Post
Oh great, now the O-line is getting profanityfilterprofanityfilterprofanityfilterprofa nityfiltery.

Slap some salve on them swolled heads boys, you ain't won in the playoffs yet.
I believe you mean "swollen".

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"We're not going to turn our backs on him," Ward said. "We're going to treat him like our brother. We're going to accept him back and be very supportive of him and help him get through this. In this locker room, he's still our quarterback."
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