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Thread: Maligned line has been OK

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    Default Maligned line has been OK

    Maligned line has been OK
    By: Mike Bires
    Beaver County Times
    Thursday December 23, 2010

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

    He didnít thank God.

    He didnít say how wonderful it felt to win a second championship at the age of 26.

    He didnít 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: ďWhoís laughing now O-line?Ē

    [IMGL][/IMGL]That was Roethlisbergerís 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 Steelersí O-line of 2010 hasnít been getting much respect either.

    Itís 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.

    Thereís even this ďNew York Life Protection IndexĒ 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 Steelersí offensive line this season, itís a position that deserves credit.

    Remember, right tackle Flozell Adams, a 35-year-old veteran, wasnít 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.

    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 hasnít necessarily been super. But itís 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. Theyíre 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 Sundayís 22-17 loss to the New York Jets for example. True, the Steelers didnít 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 NFLís stingiest defenses.

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

    Itís a bit premature to think the Steelers will win another Super Bowl this season. But theyíve 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.
    "You only have one life, and you will not get out alive. Make the most of your time and have no regrets." - Me.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Maligned line has been OK

    Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Jonathan Scott has struggled at times at left tackle in place of Starks.
    Like the safety last weekend.

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