Scenario: The Pittsburgh Steelers' offensive line surrenders the most sacks in the NFL
Why it will happen: There is a lot of excitement surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers' offensive line, especially with the addition of Mike Munchak as the new offensive line coach. However, the simple fact that the Steelers have extremely unproven tackles leaves this offensive line extremely vulnerable.
With Kelvin Beachum protecting Be Roethlisberger's blind side, and Marcus Gilbert at the other tackle position, that is a near "pick your poison" scenario for opposing defenses.
On top of the unproven book ends of the offensive line, you have some very quetionable depth along a unit that has never stayed healthy for any period of time. Whether it was Pouncey's knee injury last season, DeCastro's knee injury his rookie season or the ongoing ankle issues that have plagued Gilbert in the past. Mike Adams is questionable at best, Guy Whimper is no full time stop plug and Cody Wallace is better known for his proctology exams than his play along the line.
All of these question marks will lead to Ben Roethlisberger being under duress far too often, and ultimately being sacked more than any other QB in the NFL.
Why it won't happen: Mike Munchak may not be a miracle worker, but his expertise is bound to improve this overall unit. The experience the group has gained the past few years will become priceless when it comes to in game adjustments, expectations as well as an overall comfort level with the offense.
Although Beachum and Gilbert are both very rough around the edges, they will be good enough to run the offense that only surrendered 7 sacks the entire second half of the 2013 season. The Steelers offensive game plan will put these players in the best position to succeed, and that will start with running the football. The addition of LeGarrette Blount to the backfield alone with Dri Archer and Le'Veon Bell will only help the line move "down hill" in run blocking and create a tempo that suits the offense and hinders the defense.
Keys: The biggest key will be the health of the offensive line. The unit has barely played a quarter of football together, and if that doesn't happen this year it could be another long year for Big Ben and company. If the Steelers can keep the line healthy, open up running lanes and work the no huddle, there should be no let down from the second half of last season.
If the line experiences injuries and fails to run the ball, defenses will be able to send blitzes that will leave players unaccounted for, and will ultimately lead to more sacks than 2013. This line has potential, but could fall apart at the seems just as easily as they could excel in 2014.