We all knew that going into 2013, the Steelers offensive line was going to need a period of time to synchronize with each other before they might become a dominating force at the line of scrimmage. The success of an offensive line is often predicated by the ability of all five players being able to move, step and attack against the defense with precise timing. That timing is learned in practice, experienced in the preseason and eventually mastered as the unit works together through seasons.
Maurkice Pouncey is the undisputed leader of the unit, as a three-time pro bowl player entering his fourth NFL season should be. But even he has been seen struggling in the new zone blocking scheme the team has adopted. After seeing Ben Roethlisberger and Bruce Gradkowski getting chased around every time they dropped back to pass, it seemed reasonable to worry that maybe the offensive line that had four draft picks from the first two rounds of drafts over the past 4 years, was not going to work out.
But such worrying minds overlook the fact that even before the season began, Kevin Colbert warned that their youth both as individual players and as a unit would factor into their play this season.
So when Maurkice Pouncey indicates that the problems within the offensive line are an easy fix, it makes sense that he's not just blowing off a major problem. Pouncey noted that a lot the miscues seen on the field are coming from small things that can only be ironed out as the team continues to practice and apply what they've learned in games. Whereas Pouncey did acknowledge that the line was good at man-blocking schemes, the zone would tire defenders out more throughout the game.
The offensive line has a chance tonight to quell much of the anxiety from fans about the offensive line, a weak point of the Steelers for the past several seasons. This is the same defensive front that hurt Ben Roethlisberger last season and held the Steelers' offense to only one touchdown. Ben Roethlisberger says that the continuity he's seeing in the line's progression in practice gives him more confidence; it's reasonable to believe that confidence shows us the first team's first offensive touchdown of the 2013 preseason tonight.
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