Lost in the shuffle of all the aspirations for returning to a dominant running game is the idea of pass protection.
The Steelers offensive line (starters and reserves) have allowed nine sacks in two preseason games. In preparation for the Steelers' third preseason game, Saturday at Heinz Field against the Chiefs, left guard Ramon Foster is cognizant of what needs to be done.
"We're not going to make any excuses about our pass pro[tection]," Foster told Ray Fittipaldo of the Post Gazette. "We'll be better in that department. That's not something we take for granted whatsoever."
The unit has been shaky at best in pass protection, and for all the emphasis on running the ball, it hasn't been a tremendous boost, either. The Steelers' starting offensive unit hasn't scored a touchdown this preseason - probably in large part to several penalties and sacks allowed.
Steelers left tackle Marcus Gilbert is also owning up to the issue, according to Fittipaldo.
"You can put it on us," Gilbert told him. "There is no way a defensive player should touch the quarterback. We have to keep him clean and do a better job this week. It's not like guys aren't trying and busting their tail. We're all coming to work. We just have to be in-synch at once."
The third preseason game is more of a final dress rehearsal before the regular season starts - in the Steelers' and Chiefs' cases, just a shade over two weeks until their first regular season game. Teams don't typically do a lot of game-planning in the preseason, but there's a certain level of acumen a player must have at the pro level in regarding to understanding and contributing to the plan. If a player is on the fringe for this year's roster, preparation for this game could be what seals or costs him his fate.
In the case of the offensive line, fans are hoping the lack of game-planning has been most of the issue so far.
More from Behind the Steel Curtain:
- Chiefs vs. Steelers: Preseason Week 3
- Paulson hears a "HEEEATH!"
- Chris Rainey remains unsigned after training camps end
- 'An edge to practice' this week
- Beachum getting snaps at left tackle
- Not all leaking ships sink
- Steelers Le'Veon Bell views foot sprain as 'blessing in disguise'
- Coach Tomlin intends for Steelers starters to play entire first half against Chiefs
- Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is taking Le'Veon Bell's foot sprain 'day-by-day'
- Richard Mann symbolizes new "details" era for Pittsburgh receivers
- Chiefs vs. Steelers: 5 Questions with Arrowhead Pride
- Steelers Roster: Decisions being made at tight end
- Steelers running game seems to be in a similar spot as last year's group