The Pittsburgh Steelers’ starting offensive line looked really good versus the New York Giants in their first Preseason game minus one play. The sack given up by Ramon Foster was the only really negative play I saw from the line with Ben Roethlisberger in the game. The most impressive thing to watch with the starters in was how well the offense moved the ball on the ground. The team has had its troubles running the ball last season and hopefully the offense can keep that rolling right into the regular season. A starting line of Mike Adams, Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro and Marcus Gilbert could end up being one of the better in the league if they are able to stay healthy.
The problem with that statement is that the team has endured severe injuries to the offensive line it seems like every season. In fact, the only guy on the current line to stay healthy all last season is Ramon Foster. So it is not exactly a stretch for Steelers’ fans to expect to see one or a few backups playing for the team in 2013. We all certainly hope that everyone avoids injury for the entire season but injuries are just a part of the NFL.
Second year player Kelvin Beachum has been touted by most of us as the ultimate swing lineman and if an injury does occur, I’d be comfortable with him playing almost every position on the line. After Beachum however, there are nothing but question marks.
Versus the Giants, John Malecki was the first backup to get in the game at center and I thought he actually represented himself well. Once the rest of the starters departed though, the line just went completely downhill. The other guys thought to have an actual shot at making the roster are Justin Cheadle, Guy Whimper, Mike Golic Jr. and Joe Long. Golic Jr. and Long didn’t even make it into the game and Cheadle was injured in practice this week. According to Chris Bradford of Timesonline.com via Steelersdepot.com, reported that Mike Tomlin referred to the injury as being significant.
The Steelers have six offensive linemen that are locks to make the team with John Malecki being a close lock in my opinion at this point. That leaves a competition for at least one and at most two roster spots on the line depending on which positions the team keeps an extra body.
It may seem like nitpicking to be ripping offensive linemen at the end of the roster who may not even see the field at all this season. No team wants to have to play their seventh, eighth, ninth linemen and any team would be in some kind of trouble if that happened. The past couple seasons however, the Steelers have been in that exact situation which has forced us to really look at the depth on the roster.
Fortunately for all of them, there are still three Preseason games left to show improvement and let’s just hope the team doesn’t need any backups to start games in 2013.