4 Players Who Could Immediately Improve the Pittsburgh Steelers Offensive Line
It’s looking like a competition right now between the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets as to who had the worst offensive line on Sunday. The Steelers, however, had a weak starting lineup to begin with and now are playing with three original starters nursing injuries on the sideline.
Here are four guys who could help rectify that situation. Warning, there are actually Pro Bowl players who are unsigned, which is ludicrous to me.
We Have a Situation
On Sunday in Houston, the Steelers offensive line looked like Maurkice Pouncey and four nursing home residents. Ben Roethlisberger was harassed all day, the running game was stopped cold and the Steelers just couldn’t generate anything.
The Steelers now must go home and face Tennessee with a quarterback who’s starting to show some serious wear. I get the feeling that, if forced to play behind this offensive line much longer, Roethlisberger will be getting measured for a funeral and not a Super Bowl ring.
I’m not a betting man, but I’d bet that Charlie Batch wishes he’d retired and Dennis Dixon wishes he’d held out. They’re both a snap or two away from being in the game behind the same line that has seen Roethlisberger become a viciously treated ragdoll.
Cap room isn’t good. The Steelers probably have about $2.5 million in room right now. I bet a few offensive players might be willing to talk restructuring; however, if it means that they might make it through the season alive. Right now, the team could improve by signing four grandmothers who are mad they lost at bingo.
Flozell Adams (T)
Adams was also cut this past offseason by the Steelers. He was scheduled to make around $5 million in 2011, so he was thought to be an easy cap casualty because of his age and the return of Willie Colon.
Colon made a very quick return, playing in one regular season game before going back home to injured reserve once again. Adams, who had a great 2010 season that surprised many, is on his couch either waiting for a call or enjoying retirement. Nobody knows for sure.
Adams would probably be the least risky signing. The problem is that I’m not sure he could play left tackle. Marcus Gilbert would have to move over from the right side, which isn’t a real confidence booster. But Adams would be an upgrade over anything they’ve got on the roster, so the Steelers need to make a call at least.
Leonard Davis (G/T)
Davis is a former Pro Bowl player who surprisingly hasn’t latched on with anyone. He was cut by Dallas during the summer in a salary cap move. His play, like that of Adams, had declined as well.
Still, Davis could be a contributor. I get the feeling he could come more cheaply than Adams, who is a little upset he was cut and in no mood to give out hometown discounts. He can play either tackle spot (at this point, who couldn’t) and allow either Jonathan Scott (if healthy) or Marcus Gilbert to return to a reserve role. He could also move in at guard to help beef up the interior line.
Adams made a near-seemless transition to the Steelers in 2010 after coming over from Dallas. Couldn’t Davis be expected to have the same level of success?
Nick Kaczur (T)
There’s one big question surrounding Kaczur: health. He suffered a back injury in 2010 and missed all of that season after it became clear he wouldn’t be ready or able to come back on time to contribute.
When he was still playing in New England, he was quite the force. I was actually surprised during research that he never made a Pro Bowl (it’s admittedly hard for linemen to do that already, though) because he always, to my memory, was a fine player.
Kaczur was a tackle, but he could probably help at guard too. The Steelers like versatile linemen, which is why Kaczur and Davis would both be good fits.
Shaun O'Hara (C/G)
O’Hara is another former Pro Bowler looking for work. He was in the game as recently as 2010 (although he sat out with an injury), so it stands to reason that he is still a good player.
He, like many others on this list, is an injury risk. He also doesn’t help out at tackle, where the Steelers are at their weakest. Still, with Doug Legursky’s status uncertain and his play even more uncertain this season, the Steelers might be wise to shore up anywhere they can and shuffle people around.
Ramon Foster has played some tackle. O’Hara could slot in on the right of Maurkice Pouncey and shift Foster outside again. At this point, what do the Steelers have to lose?