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BlitzburghRockCity
08-20-2007, 01:01 AM
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_523030.html


By Scott Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, August 20, 2007

The players are near-unanimous in their desire for Steelers coach Mike Tomlin to settle on the starting five along the offensive line.

Of course, democracy has never flourished among football teams, and Tomlin has the only vote that counts.

So far, he's been tougher to budge than Casey Hampton on his stance that he's in no hurry to make a decision on who starts at center and right tackle.

He reiterated it after the Steelers' 12-10 win over the Washington Redskins on Saturday night, even though the offensive line turned in an uneven performance. That raised the question of how beneficial it would be for Tomlin to pick the five that must effectively function as one when they are on the field.


"They're going to be judged by their cumulative body of work, so we'll continue to watch," Tomlin said.

Tomlin only has two more preseason games in which to evaluate his players -- in this case, Chukky Okobi and Sean Mahan at center and Max Starks and Willie Colon at right tackle.

"Of course, I'd like to see (a decision made soon)," said Starks, who's trying to hold off Colon, "but you have to be an obedient player and wait for them to make their decision."

What has complicated the decision-making process is the shuffling the Steelers have done along the offensive line. Some of that has been a product of necessity.

Mahan didn't play in the first preseason game because of an excused absence, and Okobi has missed the past two games because of a rib injury. Starting left tackle Marvel Smith, meanwhile, didn't play Saturday night because of back spasms.

Trai Essex started in his place, and the Steelers had tried Starks at left tackle the previous two games, though he played exclusively at right tackle against the Redskins.

It's debatable whether injuries and experimentation have hindered the emergence of five clear-cut starters up front.

But it was clear Saturday that offensive line remains a work in progress.

The Steelers averaged just 3.2 yards per carry and couldn't get into the end zone, despite driving inside Washington's 5-yard line three times.

"Obviously, there have been some good things and a lot of things we need to work on," said Mahan, the team's only significant free-agent signing during the offseason. "It will be nice when we can kind of solidify the units.

"The more situations you see, the better. So, I'm sure it's something where everyone wants to see happen pretty quickly.

"You need to know what the guy next to you is doing and how he approaches it and how he blocks. There's a lot of communication, and when the bullets are flying, you've got to be able to communicate in a matter of seconds."

Mahan and Colon have started the past two games, but Tomlin doesn't appear ready to anoint them as first stringers -- or go with Okobi and Starks, the players who are still listed first on the depth chart at their respective positions.

All he says now is to stay tuned.

"I think we're going to have cohesion even if we do allow this thing to play out," Tomlin said.

We all know Faneca and Smith will anchor the left side but at this point that's all we know and that's a bit scary to know that none of the other 3 are stepping up to the point of nailing down a job. Colon seems to have a handle on the RT spot. Simmons will most likely keep that RG spot because Kemoeatu isn't doing enough and Mahan is still fighting it out at Center with Okobi.

All I know is Im glad it's still preseason because right now our OL sucks ***.

Captcoolhand
08-20-2007, 04:22 AM
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_523030.html



We all know Faneca and Smith will anchor the left side but at this point that's all we know and that's a bit scary to know that none of the other 3 are stepping up to the point of nailing down a job. Colon seems to have a handle on the RT spot. Simmons will most likely keep that RG spot because Kemoeatu isn't doing enough and Mahan is still fighting it out at Center with Okobi.

All I know is Im glad it's still preseason because right now our OL sucks ***.
Hate to say it but I don't see it changing.:stirpot:

LatrobePA
08-20-2007, 09:05 AM
The problem is the teams we play in this season are all licking their chops, knowing this line is weak as hell on the left. Ben will have a tough year if this crap isn't fixed ASAP.

I honestly don't see much of a diffrence this year from last, breakdowns all over the place....

BlitzburghRockCity
08-20-2007, 09:36 AM
I'm going to reserve judgment till we start the regular season but it's not looking too promising. The main issue here is that all these guys that have been waiting their turn to get a chance to start: Essex, Kemoeatu, Okobi, and free agent Mahan are not stepping up and being account for.

Most of the guys on our OL have been on it for a few years atleast and haven't gotten a chance till now to really show what they can do. Flashes of greatness don't cut it on the OL, you've got to be consistent on every play of every game and right now there is no consistency.

The OL needs time to work together and gel and play with the first team; at this rate Tomlin isn't going to name a starting 5 until the last preseason game and by that time they'll only have a couple weeks before the season starts to get their act together.

BLACKNGOLD4LIFE
08-20-2007, 11:51 AM
guys i have 2 say after watching that redskins game we have 2 do an better job of blocking, not only our offensive line but tight ends the tightends r not opening up holes, neither is ben making good decisions he should of threw the ball away instead of taking an sack, he's throwing n 2 double coverage alot n the red zone i'm starting 2 c what stan savran means i just hope we keep carey davis instead of danny boy, i have faith n my steelers but i hope we get these problems fix soon i also stand by my predicitons 12-4

AZ_Steeler
08-20-2007, 12:03 PM
Since the Steelers have 2 games left I think now is a better time than ever to ink in the starting 5 and let them starting working together as a unit. I understand trying guys at different spots but you gotta draw the line somewhere. They are all professionals but IMO it will be hard for them to flip a switch and work together as a unit... that is something that comes together after time!

LatrobePA
08-20-2007, 12:34 PM
It almost looked like Ben was a bit scared in the pocket, same look he had last year...He just looked off. My .02!!

steelerfan11
08-20-2007, 01:51 PM
It almost looked like Ben was a bit scared in the pocket, same look he had last year...He just looked off. My .02!!

I would be scared if I had that OL in front of me also.

We do need to get this set in stone and let them work together to get better. I think there is no reason why we should get rid of Kreider. He is still one of the best at his position. I do think Willie needs a blocker (Kreider) sometimes, so I think there is no reason to get rid of him.


I guess the only thing that is good about not having the OL set is we have 5 preseason games...then our first regular season game is against the Browns. BUT it needs to be set...and set quick!!

LatrobePA
08-20-2007, 01:54 PM
"I would be scared if I had that OL in front of me also."

LOL, maybe your right. It'll be fixed I'm sure.

Mike Tomlin
08-20-2007, 04:28 PM
I don't know about Ben being scared, but i do know on Fast Willies first run he almost had about a 80 yard touchdown. The play was set up perfectly except Essex completely missed a block on the only man who could have made the tackle.......and he did. Essex is garbage.

BlitzburghRockCity
08-20-2007, 04:50 PM
Since the Steelers have 2 games left I think now is a better time than ever to ink in the starting 5 and let them starting working together as a unit. I understand trying guys at different spots but you gotta draw the line somewhere. They are all professionals but IMO it will be hard for them to flip a switch and work together as a unit... that is something that comes together after time!


That's exactly right IMO, if there isn't 5 people that have stepped up at this point there isn't going to be any at all. These guys have had all offseason and camp and 3 preseason games now to put their best foot forward and claim one of the open spots on the line. Tomlin and his guys need to sit down and name the starting OL this week and let them play together the last 2 games to get some solid work in for the first team !

DIESELMAN
08-20-2007, 06:30 PM
"Of course, I'd like to see (a decision made soon)," said Starks, who's trying to hold off Colon, "but you have to be an obedient player and wait for them to make their decision."


We wouldn't be waiting if you would get your head outta your big ***. He's got all the physical skills, someone needs to start a fight with him before every game to get his blood boiling.

Mike Tomlin
08-20-2007, 08:53 PM
We wouldn't be waiting if you would get your head outta your big ***. He's got all the physical skills, someone needs to start a fight with him before every game to get his blood boiling.

That's the problem, he has no fight in him. What physical skills do you mean? He's an ok run blocker but he has two left feet when it comes to pass protection. Sure he's a big dude who should be able to do his job, but he's really like a dog with no teeth. He'll prolly naw on you to death lol!

DIESELMAN
08-20-2007, 11:40 PM
That's the problem, he has no fight in him. What physical skills do you mean? He's an ok run blocker but he has two left feet when it comes to pass protection. Sure he's a big dude who should be able to do his job, but he's really like a dog with no teeth. He'll prolly naw on you to death lol!
Yeah skills was the wrong word, more like hes got the physical qualities as far as size and height but thats about it, all talk and no walk.

NOVA STEELERS
08-22-2007, 07:12 AM
By Teresa Varley
Steelers.com

The Steelers have used the preseason to try out some different combinations on the offensive line, and with two preseason games still to play a decision is close to being made as to who the starting five will be on opening day in Cleveland on Sept. 9.

"We're getting extremely close," said coach Mike Tomlin. "We are going to continue to watch those guys. What we're doing with our offensive line is based on the fact that we feel we have eight guys that are capable starters. We are not looking for five. We have eight."

The eight that Tomlin is referring to are guards Kendall Simmons, Alan Faneca and Chris Kemoeatu, tackles Marvel Smith, Willie Colon and Max Starks, and centers Sean Mahan and Chukky Okobi. Smith and Okobi both missed practice time last week, but returned to the field on Monday when the team came back to their practice facility on the South Side.

"It's a compliment to them and what they are capable of," said Tomlin. "We are going to leave no stone unturned in allowing those guys to have the opportunity to compete. They are competing their butts off. It's coming to the end. We are aware of that. It's taking shape."

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Working as a unit a key for the offensive line

Wednesday, August 22, 2007
By Teresa Varley Steelers.com

The Steelers have two preseason games left, but from a starters standpoint Sunday night's game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Heinz Field is a key.
It's traditionally a game where the starters see the most playing time, often times staying on the field into the third quarter.

And there is no unit that is looking for that consistency and playing time together more than the offensive line, where there is the potential for two new starters come opening day on Sept. 9 at Cleveland.

"It makes a big difference," said right guard Kendall Simmons. "The o-line is different than any other position because you have to know who you are working with and the position that you are in. It's going to make a big difference in how things play out. We can learn about each other a lot better than in practice. Game time is a lot different than practice."

While nothing has been made official, the first-team at practice on Tuesday was Marvel Smith, Alan Faneca, Sean Mahan, Simmons and Willie Colon. Those five have not started a game as a unit yet because of injuries and experimenting with different options and if they are going to be the five, getting work on Sunday night will be a key.

"We have some tweaking to do," said Simmons. "Being off on some different levels, communication and stuff like that. In a game you slow it down a little bit, but it gives you a chance to work with a guy for a while and hopefully we continue to be that way."

Simmons is the only offensive lineman who has started the first three preseason games. Smith and Faneca, both entrenched as starters, missed a game because of injury. Colon has started the past two games at right tackle, with Max Starks getting the call there in the Hall of Fame game. Chukky Okobi started the Hall of Fame game at center, but Mahan moved into the position after Okobi was injured.

For Simmons, there is going to be a change beside him one way or another as there will definitely be a new center after Jeff Hartings retired this off-season. It's now a matter of comfort and confidence, something Simmons knows will come with time.

"It's just getting used to being where he is at," said Simmons of the center position. "We were used to playing with Jeff for so long you knew where Jeff was going to be. A lot of times Jeff would tell you go ahead and go and you might not feel him there, but if you go he is going to be there. It's just getting that same confidence in the center and I don't think that's going to be a problem at all."

When the starting offensive line will be officially determined is not known, but one thing is known for sure, no matter who is out there the lines of communication will be open and the line will be working together.

"O-line is one position where you can't go in there and do your own thing," said Simmons. "It's just talking. You have to by in sync with the guys next to you that way the group will succeed. It's just more communication.

"We talk a lot after every play. When we step to the side we talk about what happened, where were you and we need to do this and look for this and that. It makes a big difference."