All things Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line has been a frequent topic here since the site’s founding in January 2008. Since that time Steel Curtain Rising has:
- Been guilty of unfairly blaming, at times, the offensive line for Ben Roethlisberger’s high sack total
- Criticized the Steelers for neglecting offensive line in the draft from 2006 to 2010
- Called out management for its “plung and patch” line building strategy
- Predicted, correctly, that the Steelers would cut Willie Colon two years after resigning him to a long-term deal
- Questioned the wisdom of their offensive line moves in the 2013 off season
The Steelers of course have been attempting to rectify these failings in the 2010, 2011, and 2012 NFL Drafts with the picks of Maurkice Pouncey, Marcus Gilbert, David DeCastro and Mike Adams. And if the need to replace Adams with Kelvin Beachum shows that perhaps the Steelers could have picked a little wiser, nothing, repeat nothing, could have prepared them for the disaster of 2013.
- The NFL Offensive Line Injury gods hath no mercy on the Pittsburgh Steelers
Yes the Steelers were caught with their pants down at center when disaster struck vs. the Titans on opening day. Cue the “Where did you go Doug Legurskkky, Steelers Nation turns its lonely eyes to you, boo, hoo, hoo?” tape. Fair point, management should have prepared better.
- But the Steelers improvised, adapted and found ways to overcome.
Unfortunately, their luck has not changed.
Injuries have forced Guy Whimper into a starting role twice, in addition to spot duty at various positions
The Steelers played all 8 active offensive lineman vs. Oakland and most likely vs. Baltimore too.
In addition to losing Pouncey for the year, the Steelers also lost his replacement Fernando Velasco
As if that’s not Kafkaesque enough for you, consider what the Steelers have done to bolster offensive line depth. They traded for Levi Brown after the debacle in London, quite possibly marking the franchise’s first in-season trade for a players since the Bill Austin era. And just a few days ago, they signed Rashad Butler. Now get this:
- The services of both Levi Brown and now Butler were lost to the Steelers before either even played a game!
Brown of course got injured in pregame warm ups vs. the Jets. Brown has left the team for “personal reasons.” Both gone without so much as a snap. How exactly is management supposed to plan for that?
This is coming on top of two season-ending offensive line (Marvel Smith and Kendall Simmons) injuries in 2008 and three straight seasons of injury-induced offensive line musical chairs spanning from 2010 to 2012.
As noted in an earlier post, offensive line injuries are up league-wide. But the Steelers have had a string of bad luck that predates the current trend.
While super natural explanations for this go beyond the purview of this blog, no one could fault Mike Tomlin, Kevin Colbert, and/or Art Rooney II for asking, “Why me?”