Happy Memorial Day Weekend Steeler Nation! First off, I feel a little like I’ve been cheating on the Steelers with the Penguins. If you haven’t been watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season, do yourself a favor and make sure to watch the Penguins as they will take on the winner of the New York Rangers vs. Boston Bruins series in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Penguins have been on fire offensively and it could not be more fun to watch. Ok, enough hockey talk let’s talk some Steelers football!
The Steelers opened OTA’s this week with one position group getting some major attention. Ben Roethlisberger joined the WDVE Morning Show this week to discuss the OTA’s and the hottest position group on the team this year; the offensive line. Ben says that this line is by far this line can be something special and the biggest change in this line from the past six years will be the left tackle position. For the past two seasons we’ve seen Max Starks ride in at the last minute, either during the season or training camp, to be signed to one year deals and hold down that blind side position for Ben. This year not so much, Starks signed with San Diego this week and it looks as though Marcus Gilbert will be at Ben’s blind side this season.
Ed Bouchette of the PPG describes how Gilbert and Mike Adams will most likely compete throughout the spring and summer for the LT spot. Signs are already pointing to Gilbert being most comfortable at that position. Gilbert, coming off an ankle injury that kept him sidelined the majority of last season, has changed his workout routine as well as his shoes and ankle support to prevent further injury. Gilbert has also studied LT’s from throughout the league famous for their zone blocking as the line will move to a zone-blocking scheme this season. No matter what the blocking scheme we all know how important the left tackle’s position is to keeping the quarterback safe. No matter how much we cringe and scream “Ben! Get rid of the ball!” when he’s scrambling around, he won’t even have the chance to do that if the line breaks down on his left side so Gilbert best be ready to have Ben’s back and have it good.
There’s a lot for Steeler Nation to be excited about with this offensive line this season. If all parts stay healthy (believe me, I know that’s a tall order), it will be a young, high draft pick group capable of great things, just like Ben Roethlisberger and the rest of Steeler Nation hopes. Although I would have liked to have seen Starks come back for yet another season if only to provide depth to the line (and step in when the inevitable o-line Tetris has to come into play), I understand he felt he was still a starter and the Steelers pretty much have to move forward with this younger line since they’ve spent so many high draft picks on them in the past five years.
What are your thoughts on the Steelers o-line for the upcoming season Steeler Nation?