A questionable Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line is nothing new. The front five have been a potential problem ever since long-time starters Marvel Smith and Alan Faneca signed elsewhere. Yet, until this season, the line has always come together to play better than the sum of its parts.
It wasn’t always pretty, but the line held up enough to get Ben Roethlisberger and company to two Super Bowls.
A lot of that had to do with continuity and chemistry, something Big Ben goes out of his way to embrace. The linemen are his guys; they are the guys he hangs out with off the field and the guys he buys dinner as thanks for doing the dirty work.
The 2011 unit has not had that. Part of it probably has to do with the lockout, as a lot of new faces were expected to step up. Early injuries have prevented the continuity from developing on the field. If the Steelers have a chance of turning the season around, growth in the line has to start now.
Big Ben cannot keep getting battered the way he has been.
The coaches have to come up with a starting five, stick with them for the rest of the year, and hope they can get lucky with avoiding injuries. The line has been so bad as a whole, it is hard to tell what is working, and what isn’t. That’s why the coaches get paid to look at film and evaluate the talent.
For my money, the team needs to go to battle with this five (from left to right) and stick with them: Recently re-signed Max Starks, Chris Kemoeatu, Maurkice Pouncey, Doug Legursky, and rookie Marcus Gilbert.