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Thread: Steelers:Could They Turn the Offensive Line Weakness into a Strength?

      
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    Default Steelers:Could They Turn the Offensive Line Weakness into a Strength?

    Steelers:Could They Turn the Offensive Line Weakness into a Strength?

    By Nick Signorelli (Steelers Featured Columnist) on February 26, 2011 - Pittsburgh
    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/6...nto-a-strength


    In the comment fields on a few of the articles I have recently written about Ben Roethlisberger, some people have mentioned the fact that Roethlisberger had the worst statistics in Super Bowl history for a winning Quarter Back during Super Bowl XL.

    It is not possible to look at that particular game and know Ben did not have the best game of his career that day. It is also not possible to look at that particular game and not notice the offensive line was considerably better than it has been since that day.

    LT - Marvell Smith. Drafted second round in 2000 (38th).

    LG - Alan Faneca. Drafted first round in 1998 (26th).

    C - Jeff Hartings. Drafted first round in 1996 (23rd) by the Lions. Signed in 2001 to play G for Steelers. Moved to Center when Dermonti Dawson was no longer able to handle the position.

    RG - Kendall Simmons. Drafted first round in first round (30th).

    RT - Max Starks. Drafted third round in 2004 (75th).

    The Steelers drafted two of these men in the first round, one in the second and one in the third. Only Jeff Hartings was not originally drafted by the Steelers, who was brought in as a free agent, and he was a former first round pick.

    Broken down, the Steelers had all three of their interior offensive linemen taken in the first round and a second and third round pick at the tackle positions.


    All respectable, and people wonder why the Steelers were having so much success running the ball.

    Now, lets take a look at the starting offensive line for the Steelers in 2010. (The reason I am not mentioning the Super Bowl roster is because I don't want to discount that the Steelers have already addressed the position).

    LT - Jonathan Scott. Drafted fifth round in 2006 (141st). First year with the Steelers.

    LG - Chris Kemoeatu. Drafted sixth round in 2005 (204th).

    C - Maurkice Pouncey. Drafted first round in 2010 (18th). Earned his first Pro Bowl in his rookie season.

    RG - Ramon Foster. Signed with Steelers as undrafted free agent in 2009.

    RT - Tony Hills. Drafted fourth round (130th).

    With Willie Colon basically saying he was not going to be with the Steelers next year, and Flozell Adams still trying to decide if he is going to retire or not and the uncertainty of Max Starks being able to return from his neck injury, I put the best player the Steelers have left at tackle in.

    Does anyone else see a major disparity here? People wonder why the Steelers have had such a hard time keeping Roethlisberger standing up straight? This MIGHT have something to do with it.


    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images With the exception of Maurkice Pouncey, there is not a single player listed from the 2010 season who was drafted higher than any player from the 2005 team.

    I am not saying players taken later in the draft cannot become some of the best in the league, only that the obvious investment the Steelers used in their prior offensive line is greater than what it is today.

    Entering the 2011 NFL Offseason, people are quick to jump on the fact the Steelers need help in their secondary. That is another issue for another article (which I plan on writing).

    The Steelers have amazing players at their skill positions. They have a TRUE franchise quarterback in Roethlisberger, a TRUE all purpose running back in Rashard Mendenhall, and Mike Wallace is becoming one of the top wide receivers in the NFL, finishing last season second in yards per attempt and seventh overall in receiving.

    Heath Miller is the most unheralded tight end in the NFL, and Hines Ward still has the ability to beat any defense. Add to that, Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown, neither of whom will be rookies next year, and both possess similar explosive abilities as Wallace.

    The only thing they are lacking is the offensive line to protect them, so the skill players can make the plays.

    Will Maurkice Pouncey continue the Steelers tradition of having amazing Centers like Webster, Dawson and Hartings?
    Yes
    No
    Submit Vote vote to see results Will Maurkice Pouncey continue the Steelers tradition of having amazing Centers like Webster, Dawson and Hartings?Yes100.0%No0.0%Total votes: 25 So, how should the Steelers fix this problem?

    For starters, as I said, they have already taken the first step last year, drafting Maurkice Pouncey in the first round. Having already earned his first Pro Bowl nomination, Pouncey looks to continue the trend of Mike Webster, Dermonti Dawson and Jeff Hartings and be one of the best centers in the NFL for the next 10-13 years for the Steelers.

    Look at what you have, and decide where the positions need to be addressed.

    Both tackle positions need to be addressed. The Adams (age), Starks (injury) and Colon (FA) issues make those two positions the most important coming into this offseason. Count on none of them being available, and if they are, then they will be good back ups.

    I believe the Steelers need to bring in someone with experience for at least one of the two tackle positions. I would suggest any of the following people for one of the slots.

    Tyson Clabo (Atlanta Falcons). Though Clabo did not become one of the best at the position overnight, he did earn his way there. Clabo may be one of the most sought after players at his position but someone the Steelers might want to consider.

    Jared Gaither (Baltimore Ravens). The upside is that he knows the AFC North and the Baltimore Ravens. The down side is he missed the 2010 season with a back injury, so do you really want to risk signing someone that may not be able to contribute?

    Who should the Steelers take?

    Jamaal Brown (13th pick in 2005 NFL Draft). Brown was traded to the Washington Redskins prior to the 2010 season for a fourth round pick by the Saints. He was in the last year of his contract, and the Saints already had his replacement, so they traded him.

    With the Redskins, Brown was not as successful. That can be attributed to a decline in skill, or that he was in a system that did to work for him. If Brown was able to pass protect for Drew Brees in his best year as a professional, then he could do the same for Roethlisberger.

    To me, Brown would be worth the risk.

    Depending on availability, a tackle and guard should be the Steelers first two picks in the 2011 NFL Draft. To try and sit here and determine WHO the Steelers should take, is an exercise in futility. There is no way anyone could tell who is even going to be available to pick.

    I will say, the Steelers SHOULD NOT trade up in the draft for ANYONE. With their first two picks being offensive linemen, this is how the Steelers starting offensive line will look in 2011.

    LT - Jamaal Brown. Drafted first round (13th).

    LG - Steelers first/second round Pick 2011.

    Who should be the RG in this formation?
    Chris Kemoeatu
    Tony Hills
    Jonathan Scott
    Trai Essex
    None of the above
    Submit Vote vote to see results Who should be the RG in this formation?Chris Kemoeatu38.1%Tony Hills4.8%Jonathan Scott9.5%Trai Essex14.3%None of the above33.3%Total votes: 21 C - Maurkice Pouncey. Drafted first round in 2010 (18th). Earned his first Pro Bowl in his rookie season.

    RG - Chris Kemoeatu. Drafted sixth round in 2005 (204th).

    RT - Steelers first/second round pick 2011.

    I moved Kemoeatu to the right side because I think it would be a mistake to put two rookies side by side on the right side of the line. Kemoeatu was selected because he has been a starter and seems, at least in my opinion, to be the best option available.

    The Steelers running game prior to the emergence of Roethlisberger was the Steelers bread and butter. If they would have the ability to be able to establish the running game and protect Roethlisberger, the Steelers could have one of the best offenses in the NFL for the next 10 years.

    Sometimes, you have to make unpopular choices. Sometimes, in business, you have to do what you really don't want to do.

    The Steelers need to take the two best offensive linemen they can in the Draft, and someone is going to have to be brought in as a free agent.

    If the Steelers do this, there is a good chance they will have the best offense in the NFL, to go with the best defense.

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    People keep forgetting about Legursky!
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    Default Re: Steelers:Could They Turn the Offensive Line Weakness into a Strength?

    The current line is fine by me, even if Colon does depart. The day that the Pittsburgh Steelers decide to start investing 35% or even 40% of their salary cap into an awesome offensive line unit, is the day that the Steelers consistent winning ways will go straight down the pipes.

    If you want to have great players at the skilled positions, then you flat out CAN NOT invest huge dollars into your offensive linemen. In my opinion, there's just not that much of a drop off in talent when comparing the few great offensive linemen with the average offensive linemen of the league. The drop off is certainly not so significant that a team should start allowing star skilled players to walk away in order to sign huge dollar offensive linemen.

    Frankly, I'm sick to death of hearing about the Steelers "so-called" horrible offensive line. The results have spoken for themselves. The Steelers offensive line didn't lose that **** Super Bowl. In fact, the offensive line played a far better game than any of the other units.

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    Default Re: Steelers:Could They Turn the Offensive Line Weakness into a Strength?

    Quote Originally Posted by CROSSBONES View Post
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    People keep forgetting about Legursky!
    Thank you. How has he kept getting overlooked when all he does is contribute. The Steelers have a 100% success rate scoring when he lines up at fullback and they run out of their goal line package. He shut down Rank in the Super Bowl as a starting center and has looked solid at guard. The guy has earned the right for serious consideration to be a starter because he is legitimately our second best O-lineman. Sometimes it seems versatility can hold you back.
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    Default Re: Steelers:Could They Turn the Offensive Line Weakness into a Strength?

    Only way to have a top notch offensive line, that makes a lot of the available money, is to get weaker in another area. Most the teams with top flight offenses, franchise QB, top skill guys, and top offensive line, is to get younger/weaker on defense. Steelers spend a lot of money to have a top 3 defense every year.

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    Default Re: Steelers:Could They Turn the Offensive Line Weakness into a Strength?

    Quote Originally Posted by WYsteel View Post
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    LT - Jamaal Brown. Drafted first round (13th).

    [HIGH-LIGHT]LG - Steelers first/second round Pick 2011[/HIGH-LIGHT].

    Who should be the RG in this formation?
    Chris Kemoeatu
    Tony Hills
    Jonathan Scott
    Trai Essex
    None of the above
    Submit Vote vote to see results Who should be the RG in this formation?Chris Kemoeatu38.1%Tony Hills4.8%Jonathan Scott9.5%Trai Essex14.3%None of the above33.3%Total votes: 21 C - Maurkice Pouncey. Drafted first round in 2010 (18th). Earned his first Pro Bowl in his rookie season.

    RG - Chris Kemoeatu. Drafted sixth round in 2005 (204th).

    [HIGH-LIGHT]RT - Steelers first/second round pick 2011[/HIGH-LIGHT].
    Am I reading this correctly? This guy is banking on getting two "ready-to-start" caliber lineman with the first two picks? Boy that's not asking for much is it?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bton66 View Post
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    Am I reading this correctly? This guy is banking on getting two "ready-to-start" caliber lineman with the first two picks? Boy that's not asking for much is it?
    Sounds like someone is a little retarded

    Tell ya what... Get a RG and we are set. There would hav to be some ignorance to not giving Legursky the shot, the main one at RG. After the way he played against the jets and packers. Kept ben upright and provided some nice holes for Mendy... He deserves a starting spot. He proved himself in the biggest stages at a moee difficult position than guard.

    That leaves RT since i dont see flozell going on and despite what he media says willie colon isnt that good. Flozell hopefully made this evident by playing RT better tham colon ever did. If we can solve the RT spot somewhere amd somehow..... this line will be pretty good. To be honest i thought the line played as good as ive seen a steelers line the paat couple decades in the playoffs this past season
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Pittsburgh View Post
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    Only way to have a top notch offensive line, that makes a lot of the available money, is to get weaker in another area. Most the teams with top flight offenses, franchise QB, top skill guys, and top offensive line, is to get younger/weaker on defense. Steelers spend a lot of money to have a top 3 defense every year.
    Pretty much and we dont really need an expensive oline. You have to have one of those for pure pocket passers or they are dead. Its why the patriots, colts and saints have a lot invested into their lines but like you said they are weaker somewhere else and for all 3 its in their Defense.

    With Ben and his style we really need a run blocking type line which we have. A protection based line would be a waste of money for a guy that likes to ad lib and move out of the pocketvlike Ben
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
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    Sounds like someone is a little retarded

    Tell ya what... Get a RG and we are set. There would hav to be some ignorance to not giving Legursky the shot, the main one at RG. After the way he played against the jets and packers. Kept ben upright and provided some nice holes for Mendy... He deserves a starting spot. He proved himself in the biggest stages at a moee difficult position than guard.

    That leaves RT since i dont see flozell going on and despite what he media says willie colon isnt that good. Flozell hopefully made this evident by playing RT better tham colon ever did. If we can solve the RT spot somewhere amd somehow..... this line will be pretty good. To be honest i thought the line played as good as ive seen a steelers line the paat couple decades in the playoffs this past season
    Heck yeah Leg! I was saying he should get the shot last year and e everyone shot me down. I keep hearing that Willie is pretty much gone. The Steelers havent even talked to him and i think he and his agent believe the hype. Good luck out on the free market buddy. He is ready for obscurity imo. Yeah we do need a RT. They will provably have to keep slozell tho. Cant expect the guy to be ready to start off the bat. Pouncey is more of an anomaly. OL, DB and DL as well i am thinking the best available of these positions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steelreign View Post
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    Thank you. How has he kept getting overlooked when all he does is contribute. The Steelers have a 100% success rate scoring when he lines up at fullback and they run out of their goal line package. He shut down Rank in the Super Bowl as a starting center and has looked solid at guard. The guy has earned the right for serious consideration to be a starter because he is legitimately our second best O-lineman. Sometimes it seems versatility can hold you back.
    Even his versatility can be used as a starter. If pouncey goes down again you slide Legursky to Center and plug in the backip at Guard. I couldnt buy he versality excuse if they tried to use it.

    Legursky earned the right to be a starter on this line and we happen to have a alot open at RG
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    Default Re: Steelers:Could They Turn the Offensive Line Weakness into a Strength?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Pittsburgh View Post
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    Only way to have a top notch offensive line, that makes a lot of the available money, is to get weaker in another area. Most the teams with top flight offenses, franchise QB, top skill guys, and top offensive line, is to get younger/weaker on defense. Steelers spend a lot of money to have a top 3 defense every year.
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    Default Re: Steelers:Could They Turn the Offensive Line Weakness into a Strength?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beezy View Post
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    Heck yeah Leg! I was saying he should get the shot last year and e everyone shot me down. I keep hearing that Willie is pretty much gone. The Steelers havent even talked to him and i think he and his agent believe the hype. Good luck out on the free market buddy. He is ready for obscurity imo. Yeah we do need a RT. They will provably have to keep slozell tho. Cant expect the guy to be ready to start off the bat. Pouncey is more of an anomaly. OL, DB and DL as well i am thinking the best available of these positions.
    It's jup to Flozell if he wants to keep playing or not. If there's a lockout, Flozell certaintly wont be much use to us at his age when we finally see football

    the plus is that we were able to find a RT solution as quickly and easily as we did with Flozell, so there could definitely be cost effective options out there to provide quality work. Contrary to popular believe, we don't need All-Pro's at every position, we need guys that will get the job done. That's what our "un-sexy" O-Line did in the playoffs and Superbowl. They got the job done, did it under the radar and were constantly not given a chance. Everyone in the media said that Legursky wouldn't be able to handle Raji. Raji was completely invisible in that game
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    Default Re: Steelers:Could They Turn the Offensive Line Weakness into a Strength?

    All and all the o-line hasn't preventing us from getting to the Super Bowl but, it doesn't mean I wouldn't like to see improvement.

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