Maybe Steelers left guard Ramon Foster is tired of hearing about all the potential greatness of the Steelers' offensive line. He heard it last year, he's hearing it now. For a unit that's largely underperformed, all investment considered, if anyone can grow weary of the praise, it's the sixth-year veteran who wasn't drafted in 2009.
Foster's played with more combinations of offensive lines than even Heinz Field has. And the issue isn't whether he believes in the ability of his trencherman teammates, it's taking the veteran route of aiming their eyes in front of them, and away from the height of the sky.
"It’s nothing right now," Foster told ESPN's Scott Brown of the Steelers' offensive line. "And I say that in the sense that (the group’s potential) has been talked about the last few years. The talent is there, but if we come out here and (falter) we’ll be saying the same thing next year. You can’t just say because we have the high-round talent or guys that have experience that it’s supposed to be special. We’ve got to make it that way."
Now's the time to put in that work. The Steelers begin their second set of three team practices this week, and while contact is forbidden, finding rhythm and gaining consistency are going to be vital for this unit's success in 2014. As a group, they can work on all of those things.
To some degree, that will be more important than actually hitting guys. The Steelers' two linemen taken in the first round, Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro, have played a total of three games together in the NFL, all coming at the tail end of 2012. Pouncey hasn't played with Kelvin Beachum. But Foster has seen all of them at various points from various positions. Because of that, he knows the low dollar value placed on speaking - talk is cheap.
"We have to make it happen," Foster said, "so to say this line is this or that, we’ve got to put in the work first."