Just a couple days ago Ramon Foster became the first Steelers free agent who signed with the team this off season. Accepting the $1.26 million tender from a few weeks ago, Foster will stay with the team for one more year. Many wonder ‘What’s the point?’ But I think Foster’s retention is good for the offensive line, and I strongly hope that Legursky will do the same.
‘Carrousel’ is a word I’ve used over and over again when describing the 2011 offensive line. Guys continually became injured and those ‘starters in waiting’ stepped up and did what they could to protect Big Ben and provide some room for Mendenhall, et al. to run the football. This motley crew wasn’t that great from game to game – but in the overall picture helped the Steelers reach the playoffs. That’s something that should not fall lightly on fans or to the front office.
Foster started 14 games last season (26 total since 2009). With Kemoeatu gone (thank you baby Jesus) a guard spot is open for full time grabs. Grant it, the Steelers are more than likely to draft a guard early on this year. Although, if they trade out of their second round pick, we may not see a guard until round 4 or 5. That’s not a bad thing considering the guard class is so deep this year, but at what point do you draw the line on guys who are drafted as immediate starters and others who need grooming for a year? The Steelers need guys like Foster as well as guys like Legursky if rookies need grooming.
Legursky started 10 games for the Steelers last season. Probably one of the smallest athletes to ever start in the NFL (ok I have no evidence to back that up, but have you ever seen him stand next to Max Starks?!), Legursky has become one of the dependable backups to a line that gets injured at least twice a game – no joke there. Not the best center, and not the best guard Legursky does what he can in those positions and seems to do well. He’s had his struggles with huge nose tackles – but even Pouncey struggles with those.
I’ve been a huge critic of the line for the past two to three years, but the Steelers can’t afford to change wholesale in just one off season. They will need the vets, no matter how mediocre they are to come back and act as the plugs in the flood should things get out of control for any incoming rookie and/or a starter is injured. Those things are bound to happen, and the offense will need consistency in the form of veterans who have played the position for numerous years and have known each other long enough to maintain a cohesive line of blocking bodies.
Steeler Nation should be pulling for someone like Legursky to return for at least one more season. We’ll all be thanking our lucky stars come October when a few linemen go down over the course of a couple weeks or even one entire game.