In case you didn’t know, the Pittsburgh Steelers will return to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA in exactly 2 days of this article being published. With that, I decided to revive an old series we used to do as a lead up to training camp.
30 predictions in 30 days.
Myself and Simon Chester are alternating days giving a prediction for the upcoming season. Some will be team oriented, while others will be specific to individual players. Either way, read on to see the reason why we think today’s prediction will come to fruition, and why it might not come true. Give your thoughts in the comment section below the article.
Training camp is almost here! Here We Go!
Prediction: The Steelers’ offensive line will keep Ben Roethlisberger cleaner than any other QB in 2019.
Why it will happen: When it comes to continuity, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive line has it going on. The 5-man starting crew remains intact, all but one Marcus Gilbert. Gilbert was shipped off to the Arizona Cardinals for a 6th round draft pick, and while many might see this as a huge loss, Gilbert has watched more football the past two seasons compared to games played.
In his stead will be a competition for right tackle. The participants in this competition will be Matt Feiler, who filled in for Gilbert last year, Chukwuma Okorafor and Jerald Hawkins, among others. The fact the Steelers have several quality options speaks volumes about the scouting department, as well as the team’s overall ability to find talent at the position.
With all that said, the Steelers’ line will be in charge of keeping Ben Roethlisberger upright this season. Something they did very well in 2018. Last season Roethlisberger had the third lowest sack percentage in the NFL, trailing only Drew Brees and Andrew Luck.
His 3.43% was a tremendous mark, but if you ask any of the offensive linemen, they want to lead the league in this category. With everyone returning, assuming Feiler is the man at right tackle, there is no reason to think this unit can’t continue to improve to the point where Roethlisberger is atop the list after the 2019 regular season is in the books.
Why it won’t happen: While their 2017 and 2018 stats are impressive, the Steelers’ offensive line had some issues in pass blocking last season. Roethlisberger was sacked 24 times in 2018, and that was a slight increase from the 2017 number of 23.
This isn’t to suggest the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line is bad, or the 2019 version of the line will fall flat on their faces and become a turnstile for defensive players en route to the quarterback. What this is suggesting is the Steelers’ will certainly have their hands full, and when it comes to dealing with pass rushing units like the Browns, Ravens, Bengals, Rams and more this season.
I fully expect the offensive line to be near the top of this statistical category in 2019, but when talking about quarterbacks like Brees, who get the football out of their hands so quick, and Roethlisberger’s tendency to hold onto the football, it doesn’t seem like leading the league would be a high probability.
What are your thoughts on this prediction? Do you think it will happen? Or are we crazy? Let us know by voting in the poll, and letting your voice be heard in the comment section below!
Will the Steelers OLine be the best in the league at keeping Ben Roethlisberger upright?
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