As the Steelers resume training camp today, an interesting change took shape as head coach Mike Tomlin issued a decree for Steelers offensive linemen:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Steelers&src=hash">#Steelers</a> coach Mike Tomlin has mandated OL to wear knee braces during training camp.</p>— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly_Trib) <a href="https://twitter.com/MarkKaboly_Trib/statuses/362602141635969026">July 31, 2013</a></blockquote>
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If anything, this is a sign that the Steelers are taking every precaution to protect their top heavy offensive line unit. Neal Coolong made it the cover story of Behind the Steel Curtain's Summer special, the Renegade; and rightfully so. There's a lot of excitement to be had when looking at the young linemen the Steelers have drafted, considering that four of this season's projected starters were drafted in the first two rounds. But after Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Mike Adams and Marcus Gilbert, the biggest names are Ramon Foster and Kelvin Beachum.
Should the Steelers' offensive line become decimated with injuries as it has in the past few seasons, new line coach Jack Bicknell Jr. would have the same challenge of playing patchwork with the unit the same way former line coach Sean Kugler had over the past few seasons.
A strong offensive line could open up a lot of opportunities for running backs LeVeon Bell, Jonathan Dwyer, Isaac Redman and even LaRod Stephens-Howling, as well as revitalize a rushing attack in Pittsburgh that would be much needed. It also means that Ben Roethlisberger may have more time to read defenses in the passing gameas he did early in his career behind Alan Faneca, Jeff Hartings and company.
Any sign that the Steelers can protect the health of this young group of linemen is a good sign. Should they live up to their potential, this unit could go from one of the team's biggest liabilities, to one of its biggest strengths.
More from Behind the Steel Curtain:
- Steelers training camp updates
- Sanders key to receiving corps
- Defensive 53-man roster locks
- Steelers resume practices Wednesday
- Steelers release two, sign two
- Dick LeBeau preparing Steelers defense for up-tempo offenses
- Steelers Jarvis Jones: 'I brought it' in Backs on 'Backers drill
- Alan Baxter excited to be in Nikes, on Steelers
- Steelers TE David Paulson still a work in progress
- Steelers offense will still emphasize the run in 2013
- Steelers 53-man roster locks through early portions of training camp
- Steelers Roethlisberger confident in his receiving group without Mike Wallace
- Steelers training camp recap: First day in pads
- Steelers Injury Report: Absences from training camp not 'precautionary'
- Mike Tomlin considers Mike Adams fortunate to be ready for Steelers Training Camp