Pittsburgh Steelers' O-Line Stabilized by Overcoming Mental Errors

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Pittsburgh Steelers' O-Line Stabilized by Overcoming Mental Errors
Parked on St. Vincent’s College campus on the last morning of training camp, were five buses ordered by Coach Tomlin for what was thought would be scheduled time off for the players.

Instead, the joke was on the team. Tomlin put the team through practice and sent the buses away empty.

"Mental warfare," Tomlin called it. "Sometimes, people have to be horribly disappointed then asked to perform."

If that is the case, then losing to the Washington Redskins last Saturday night should have proved to be a big motivator to performing well and reduce the number of mental breakdowns against the next opponent, the Buffalo Bills and moving forward to the regular season.

In the 20-10 win over the Arizona Cardinals the Steelers were penalized seven times for 70 yards

Tomlin planned to make reducing penalties a point of emphasis with the players the last week of camp.   

But the Steelers go in the opposite direction committing 13 penalties for a total of 89 yards in the second game of the preseason against the Redskins.

Nine of the 13 were offensive penalties.

Tomlin may be stewing about the mental mistakes made in these last two preseason games but something has to be done to eliminate this problem.

It’s still preseason and there are two more games before the regular season.

Last weekend the offense was missing two starters with QB Ben Roethlisberger (foot) and LG Chris Kemoeatu (ribs).

Without those starters, the first team offense scored seven in the first quarter against the Redskins, which is a considerable improvement to the week before when the offense scored zero points in the preseason opener.

The credit goes to, that’s right, the running game and the Steelers seem to have found something running to their right, RT Willie Colon.

While Colon had great success against the Redskins, Saturday night, he and the Steelers offensive line remains a work in progress.

The run game has been most effective from Colon's right side, with FB Carey Davis following Colon with his lead blocking.

Colon earned big-time praise from Coach Tomlin on his blocking during goal-line drills at camp.

Colon should continue to excel as a run-blocker, while working to improve his pass-blocking skills.

RB Willie Parker made the three-yard touchdown on a sweep right behind Colon with a surprisingly nice block from fullback Carey Davis.  

C/G Doug Legursky, who filled in at center for most of training camp while starter Justin Hartwig recovered from a broken right big toe, played guard against the Redskins, replacing starter Chris Kemoeatu, who was held out because of a rib injury.

The coaching staff is looking to find someone who can play both guard and center and prefer to work with players who are flexible in more than one position.

Even with his struggles, Legursky has made a strong case for the 53-man roster.

He has had his challenges at center with a bad snap in the shotgun to QB Dennis Dixon, who recovered it and at guard, struggled to block DT Albert Haynesworth on passing plays.

Legursky and rookie A.Q. Shipley are competing for backup center/guard. 1250986689

Steelers’ rookie G Kraig Urbik is battling Jeremy Parquet for the final guard spot. Parquet injured his rib during the Redskin game.

With Essex, Kemoeatu, and Stapleton almost assuredly to make the roster,. Urbik may end up in the practice squad.

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Steelers C Doug Legursky made a strong case for the 53-man roster by playing in place of starter Chris Kemoeatu at guard. The coaching staff likes players to be position flexible, especially on the line, and Legursky did a decent job at guard.

OT Tony Hills, is also vying for the No. 1 backup, but drew two pre-snap penalties Saturday night, one for illegal formation and the other a false start.

Pittsburgh Post–Gazette sports writer Ed Bouchette believes that Hills will make the 53-man roster.

OT Ramon Foster has been the biggest surprise in training camp.

An undrafted tackle from Tennessee playing guard, Foster seems to have the advantage over Jason Capizzi and Tony Hills because he can play guard as well tackle.

Foster will be given every shot at earning one of either 9 or 10 offensive lineman spots and his ability to play both spots will play a huge determining factor in it.

Late in the Steeler spring OTA sessions, Foster worked primarily at the guard position. The move to guard is likely to test how versatile Foster is at playing both guard and tackle on both sides of the center

Here again flexibility can get you on the game.

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