Keith Srakocic/Associated Press
Last season, offensive line injuries decimated this team. Some weeks the Steelers were literally one man from being one man short. All the injuries forced the coaches to adjust their plan of attack heavily, and that included very little outside-zone run plays.
The hope this season is that with running backs Le'Veon Bell and rookie Dri Archer, an effective outside zone-blocking scheme could give them creases on the outside they can exploit for big gains.
Unfortunately, with one game into the preseason, the outside zone still looks very much like a work in progress. Ironically, it is this group of tackles that appear to be holding things back. Guard David DeCastro and center Maurkice Pouncey have all the requisite athleticism to slide and cut in the outside zone. However, tackles Kelvin Beachum and Marcus Gilbert are still trying to get up to speed.
The key to an effective outside zone-blocking scheme is having players who can kick out and work down the line. When you consider that most linemen don't know who they are going to block until the ball is snapped, working together as a team and being on the same page is so vital.
As of now, this group, in particular the tackles, just isn't holding up its end of the bargain.