Over the past two seasons, no team's offensive line has underwent more scrutiny from the media and the fans than the one blocking for Ben Roethlisberger.
To put it lightly, the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line has been nothing short of the laughingstock of sports communities all over the internet. Comparisons to a certain, neutral, sort of cheese have been made on a near daily basis.
But, let's take a look at the statistics compiled throughout the internet and see just how bad they are.
We're going to begin with the tackle position, namely right tackle Willie Colon.
Amazingly enough, according to a popular source he's regarded as the second best tackle in the league among players that have played at least 75% of the snaps for their teams.
He's only allowed two sacks on the season, along with four quarterback hits, and four more quarterback pressures. Not too shabby in my humble opinion.
But what about his bookend, Max Starks? How's he doing?
Again another surprise, as he's rated the 14th best tackle in the league, allowing six sacks this season.
He's also allowed Roethlisberger to be hit five times and to be pressured thirteen more.
So, according to the sources, the Pittsburgh team has a solid duo of starting tackles.
But what about the Steelers guards?
Left guard Chris Kemoeatu is well along the list, rated number 21 throughout the league's starters.
He's allowed three sacks, three hits, and eight pressures on Roethlisberger.
Not bad by any means.
And then we move onto right guard Trai Essex. If the other's were regarded as 'solid' and 'not bad' then let's see how low we can go with the Steelers right guard, who is ranked as the second-to-worst in the league, ahead of only the Cleveland Browns' Eric Steinbach.
Essex has allowed only one sack all year and Roethlisberger has been hit only eight times when he's at fault.
But he's allowed 23 pressures, meaning that they don't quite get to Roethlisberger, but they certainly make their presence known in the form of hurried throws, etc.
His 23 pressure ranks first among all guards in the league.
So, we've got a weak link.
Let's move on to the man snapping the ball to our quarterback - center JustinHartwig.
Another bad report. He's ranked as the fourth to worst center in the league, who's taken at least 75% of the snaps.
He's allowed three sacks, two hits on his quarterback, and 11 quarterback pressures up the middle.
He's tops in the league as far as centers allowing their quarterback to be sacked goes. Not something to be proud of at all.
So, essentially we've got a very average offensive line that has a bright spot or two, at least during some games.
Nothing to be proud of but you've got to take into consideration the fact that Roethlisberger enjoys hanging onto the ball for long periods of time, which makes it tough to gauge these sorts of rankings.
Couple that with Roethlisberger's difficulty in reading defenses and you've got an offensive line that's forced to work harder than one should be asked to.
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