The Pittsburgh Steelers may have dealt with a ridiculous amount of injuries on the offensive side of the football, but one position which remained relatively healthy was the offensive line. Ramon Foster missed a game or two, Maurkice Pouncey was suspended for his role in the Myles Garrett - Mason Rudolph fiasco, but for the most part the Steelers’ offensive line remained intact.
All the more reason for the unit to play well and help lift up an offense without Ben Roethlisberger, James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster, right?
The offensive line, although still a top pass blocking unit, fell below the line in regards to the fan base’s expectations for them. But for the folks at Pro Football Focus, they saw the Steelers’ line take a step backwards, but not nearly as far back as many would have guessed.
Check out PFF’s Top 10 Offensive Lines:
1. Philadelphia Eagles
2. Baltimore Ravens
3. Indianapolis Colts
4. Dallas Cowboys
5. New Orleans Saints
6. Green Bay Packers
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
8. Tennessee Titans
9. Pittsburgh Steelers
“Injuries to the quarterback, running back and wide receiver positions quickly turned one of the NFL’s better offenses from a season ago into a unit that averaged more yards per play than only the Redskins, Bears and Jets this season. The Steelers’ offensive line simply didn’t play at the same level it did last year when it finished the regular season as the top unit in the NFL for us at PFF. But they were still solid up front, particularly in pass protection, where they put up an 81.6 pass-blocking grade that trailed only the Ravens and Saints this season.”
There wasn’t a position group which disappointed more for the Steelers and their fans in 2019, but at the same time it is clear the offensive line, although below the line, was not one of the worst in the NFL as many suggest. The team will have some tough decisions to make this offseason with the men across the line.
Will the team keep Ramon Foster, or will he be a salary cap casualty? Will B.J. Finney be back to help support the interior of the line, and possibly as a starter for Foster, or will he cost too much to keep and find new pastures in 2020? Maurkice Pouncey, although voted for the Pro Bowl, had a sub-par season for his standards. Can he rebound?
There is a good chance the Steelers will experience some significant turnover along the line, and in the depth at the position. But will it matter if Ben Roethlisberger can’t return to his usual self? Only time will tell...