Defense Should Feast On Steelers Offensive Line

Jeff Zelevansky

The Steelers are off to a terrible 0-4 start, a lot of fan criticism has been laid at the feet of the offensive line. There will be no breaks Sunday when they stroll into Jets territory.

I respect Big Ben as a football player, rarely have I seen a player manage to avoid a sack and create a play as well as he does. However the offensive line of the Steelers are not doing him any favours. With Maurkice Pouncey lost for the season on the opening day, it was always going to be a struggle from there, however I'm not sure the Steelers realised just how much of a struggle the 2013 NFL season was going to be.

They have started 0-4 for the first time since 1968, this is uncharted territory for an organization that has been on a remarkable run of success. I watched the Tennessee game where I saw left guard Ramon Foster get beat like a drum, back-up centre Kelvin Beachum look like a deer in headlights and David DeCastro having to slide over to offer help to his centre. Felix Jones was constantly whiffing on blocking from the RB position and Redman couldn't hold onto the ball to warrant him staying on the field.

I'm not going to jump all over Pittsburgh as they are still a dangerous team who could easily put all the pieces together. They have invested a lot of draft stock into the offensive line over the past three years and you would think sooner or later it is going to pay off. However when you combine an offensive line that doesn't look solid, a running back corps who don't look like they want to block, with a quarterback who likes to hold onto the football, and the Jets defensive front should be licking their chops.

According to football outsiders, the Steelers are ranked 25th in terms of pass protection and are surrendering just under 4 sacks a game. The problems? well they seem to be coming from the left tackle and the right end, Football Outsiders rank them 28th and 31st when trying to run that way. Luckily for Pittsburgh they run off left tackle only 13% of the time and they run off the right end only 1% of the time. So as far as game planning goes, the Jets know where they will be running.

Wilkerson, Richardson, Coples, Ellis, Snacks, Davis, Harris and Pace should all be looking forward to this game. This is a game where the defense can dominate and make a statement. Lets hope they do just that!

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