Getting Caught Up - Offensive Line

Stay Healthy, on 3. Ready...BREAK!

We’ve been away for a while. Chances are you forgot you even had DC Steeler Nation on your Google Reader. Or you followed DixieNormess and/or xmasape on the “Twit-Machine” but didn’t know they wrote to this site. Well, we do. Some.

As Tunison has said, we pretty much go “dark” around here during the off-season. And boy, was the off-season dark. Since the last post on this blog, we’ve seen millions of gallons of BP oil pollute the Gulf of Ron Mexico, hundreds of thousands of cars recalled by Toyota, dozens of illegitimate offspring sired by NFL fathers and like 6,000 earthquakes. There have been so many earthquakes. All this is to say nothing of the aggrandized shit-show that has been our Steelers' collective off-season. Breaking down all of the negativity, mishaps and misfortunes of the past few months would likely cause myself (and possibly the 27 people that read this site) to brew a steaming cauldron of hemlock punch. So, let’s just take stock of what we DO have. We’ll be taking a methodical look our roster, position by position in an effort recap significant personnel additions/subtractions as well as some of the more colorful “off-field” developments pertaining to our boys in Black n’ Gold.

For our first installment, let’s look at our O-line:

The headline here is that starting right tackle Willie Colon has been lost for the season with an Achilles tendon injury. The Steelers kicked the tires on a few possible contingencies, including Flozell “False Start” Adams and Levi Jones. The thought was perhaps the Rooneys would take a more liberal approach to the bottom line heading into an uncapped year and the possible abyss of a looming strike. [UPDATE: per ESPN's Adam Schefter's Twitter: Former NY Jet draftee Adrian Jones has been signed as of 7/21, word is Adams wanted too much coin. Jones is a journeyman at best and failed to log any snaps with the Texans last season and will likely be more of an insurance policy than anything else].

It has been said that Colon was among the Steelers' best run-blockers, having lost Alan Faneca two seasons ago. However, let’s be real: for the bulk of his career Colon has been considered average to serviceable, with illegal procedure and holding penalties serving as his calling card at times. The most probable solution is that Max Starks will move to fill that void, a position he played for two seasons back in ’05 & ’06. What looked like a preventative move by the Steelers, signing former Buffalo lineman Jonathan Scott early in the off season, now looks more like a stop-gap at best for a paper-mache line.

As if that weren’t enough, The Steelers’ newest first round pick, Maurkice Pouncey has been identified as part of an NCAA investigation centering on the University of Florida men’s football program. This will not impact his pro career, But it isn’t exactly the “best foot forward” a battle-scarred Steelers Public Relations Dept. would hope for.

On the positive side, Chris Kemoeatu, Justin Hartwig, Trai Essex and the aforementioned Starks are all still in the fold. Something to be said for consistency, I suppose. The Steelers have also been high on Ramon Foster who filled in for an injured Kemoeatu at times last season. Lastly, some have said '08 fourth-rounder Tony Hills may finally get his act together enough to make it through camp and that '10 fifth-rounder Chris Scott could at least be a solid base for the future.

Last Year’s Starting O-line:

LT Max Starks

LG Chris Kemoeatu

C Justin Hartwig

RG Trai Essex

RT Willie Colon

This Year’s Probable Starting O-line:

LT Jonathan Scott

LG Chris Kemoeatu

C Justin Hartwig

RG Trai Essex

RT Max Starks

As has been the case for the last few years, the Offensive Line for the Steelers will determine much of the teams’ potential in the W/L column. One or two injuries here would have catastrophic effects. Having said that, The Steelers have won the Super Bowl while finishing near the league worst in sacks allowed and have an offensive system predicated on minimizing the negative effects of a porous line. We will be fielding an experienced, if not rag-tag crew from the looks of things…

Up Next: The Pass-Catchers

1 comment:

gamechump said...

i came to this site by accident. nice to see an update.

i am dreading football season...