Doesn’t it always though, the big guys up front absolutely must take care of business today against the Broncos pass rush. With All Pro Center Maurkice Pouncey out yet again with the troublesome high ankle, it will be up to Doug Legursky to be the linchpin for the 5 lineman.
Ben Roethlisberger can’t afford to be running for his life, even if he is feeling “better” this week. That cold weather has a nasty habit of making the ground harder and every hit that sends Ben to the turf feel 10 times worse than normal. If the front 7 starts feeling like they have a beat on the Steelers QB it’s going to be a long afternoon and a closer game than most even predict. Elvis Dumervil, Von Miller, Robert Ayers, and company must not be allowed to get penetration under any circumstances. Even though Miller is not 100% he’s still more than capable of getting after the Quarterback. The running game depends on it as much as Big Ben does. With Rashard Mendenhall gone now with his torn ACL, Isaac Redman and John Clay will be carrying the load. Both are very capable of finding the small crease and making a big play, and the Steelers must be able to run the ball today.
Max Starks will have his hands full as will Marcus Gilbert on the other side, the edge pressure needs to be kept out of harms way so Ben can step up in the pocket and scramble if necessary. Chris Kemoeatu and Ramon Foster along with Legursky need to keep that nice, arc shaped, pocket available for Ben to find time to hit his targets. If any of those 2 situations doesn’t happen the Steelers are in trouble. It would behoove Bruce Arians to have a game plan ready to go where Ben gets the ball out quickly. Expect Ben to be in the shot gun a lot on Sunday afternoon to avoid putting under pressure on that bad ankle and give him an extra second or two while the receivers get into their routes. If the line gives him any kind of time at all, there’s no reason the Steelers offense shouldn’t be able to move the ball.
Steelers Offensive Depth Chart:
Denver Defensive Depth Chart: