The 2016 Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line had a goal in mind — set a new franchise record for least sacks surrendered in a regular season.
They were close to accomplishing this goal, and if it weren’t for an abysmal performance against the Cleveland Browns in Week 17 where Landry Jones was sacked four times, the team very well could have achieved their goal.
Nonetheless, of the five regular offensive lineman, it was possibly the least known, or underrated, linemen who did something only four other players in the entire NFL did in 2016 — not surrender a single sack.
This players isn’t Alejandro Villanueva, All Pro Maurkice Pouncey, Pro Bowler David DeCastro or Marcus Gilbert. No, it is none other than guard Ramon Foster.
As posted by Pro Football Focus on Twitter, Marshal Yanda of the Baltimore Ravens, Foster, and Gabe Jackson and Kelechi Osemele of the Oakland Raiders were the only offensive guards who didn’t give up a sack throughout the entire regular season.
As a unit, the Steelers surrendered just 21 sacks the entire regular season, second behind only the Raiders who gave up 18. Of those 21 sacks, 17 of those were to franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisbeger. Keeping Roethlisberger upright, and healthy, in 2017 should be the goal for the offensive line. With Roethlisberger already having considered retirement prior to this season, a devastating injury could convince him to simply hang up the cleats for good.
No pressure offensive line, but at least Foster more than did his part in 2016. If the Steelers’ line can rank No. 1 in sacks and keep Big Ben mobile and upright, there would be no built-in excuse for Roethlisberger not to return in 2018.