I recently had the opportunity to talk to Mike Mayock, former NFL defensive back and current NFL Network analyst about the Steelers offensive line woes. He said Steelers fans "need to be patient" about how the Steelers are playing and give it time to gel. There have been some changes over the last couple years in offensive coordinator and position coaches, but there has always been consistency in who a Pittsburgh Steeler is and what's expected on the field. He said, "I think in the past [a bad season] was often engendered by injuries and being able to get the five best players on the offensive line at the same time has been difficult."
"Coach Bicknell is a very good Offensive line coach and teacher, they will get better," he added.
"As fans, we tend to have knee jerk reactions to things, we need to be patient, the Steelers offensive line will get better," Mayock said.
But does telling us to be patient about the O-line really work? I'm worried about the fundamentals. I am not sure it's necessarily bad coaching. I don't judge pre-season by wins and losses because that's not what it's for. Pre-season is to run plays that help decide the final 53 man roster and is absolutely not indicative of how a season will play out. That said, there are some serious fundamentals that need to be shored up before I stop worrying about the O-line.
This isn't the first time the Steelers have had O-line woes, and it probably won't be the last, however, in my opinion, the difference between the bad O-line before and the bad O-line now is experience. When you have veterans on the line and sloppiness, ala Willie Colon and holding calls, you can quickly correct that. Colon and other vets understood what they needed to do in clutch situations. However, this young O-line, essentially full of talent, has never played in a big game. Pouncey, the leader by default, missed playing in the Super Bowl against Green Bay because he was hurt. He's been hurt a lot when it counts.
So, the big question for me this season is, can they all stay healthy, and can they learn how to play tough in big games, in big situations. For me, the jury's still out.
But I am looking forward to them changing my mind.
What say you Steeler Nation?