The offensive line of the Pittsburgh Steelers has seen better days. The club has used five starting combinations on the offensive line. Starting right tackle Willie Colon will not see the field this year. Starting left tackle Max Starks is also on injured reserve. Jonathan Scott, the new starting left tackle, is on his third team in a five year career for a reason. He was last seen on Buffalo's patchwork line last season.
The results have not been pretty in pass protection. The Steelers have allowed 7 sacks, 4 hits, and 8 pressures in the last two weeks alone. Pass blocking is not their forte. This is a group that seems susceptible to New York's blitzes, particularly overloads with Scott on one side and Flozell Adams, vulnerable to speedy athletic guys, on the other.
The question is whether the Jets can be effective and neutralizing Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger is a unique player. He uses his 6'5" 241 pound frame to bounce off hits and keep plays alive. Santonio Holmes has said more than once his former offense was a lot like schoolyard football with Roethlisberger's ability to keep plays alive. A sprained foot has forced him to play with a special shoe the past few weeks. His mobility has been lessened, but he's still no statue. It's unclear how much the injury will still affect him Sunday.
They do not keep stats on things like this, but I have been alarmed this year by the number of times a Jet has gotten into the defensive backfield and either whiffed on the quarterback completely or allowed the quarterback to get away. Roethlisberger isn't a huge scrambling threat, but his ability to keep big plays alive in the passing game might be more dangerous. His ability does come with a drawback, though. Because he is so adept at bouncing off guys, he will hold onto the ball longer than most quarterbacks instead of throw it away and take some really bad sacks, relying too much on his ability. The ability of Gang Green to finish him off will be very, very important.