It was 1959 the last time the Pittsburgh Steelers had an offensive line as young and inexperienced as they do now. The average age for the five assumed starters (Gilbert, Foster, Pouncey, DeCastro, Adams) is just 24 years of age. A group of players who have just 114 starts combined, and 87 of them alone are from All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey (45) and left guard Ramon Foster(42).
Pouncey will be 24 years old in July, and since coming into the league in 2010, he has been selected to three Pro Bowls and arguably the best center in the league today. Head coach Mike Tomlin asked Pouncey to step in as a leader on the team, and Pouncey has chomped at the bit.
Foster is a four-year vet who has worked his way up from being signed as an undrafted free agent on April 27, 2009. The 27-year-old Foster has played in a significant amount of games his rookie season (14), and made his first start against the Baltimore Ravens on November 29, 2009 due to an injured Chris Kemoeatu.
Left tackle Marcus Gilbert (25 years old) has started 18 games with the black and gold. Gilbert was a second round pick by the Steelers in 2011. In his rookie season, Gilbert started in 13 games and won the Joe Greene Great Performance Award. In 2012, Gilbert was aggravated by injuries and started just 5 games.
Right guard David DeCastro (23), who is already familiar with the zone blocking scheme the Steelers are applying to the playbook in 2013, has started just three games in his career. DeCastro’s rookie season was shortened in the third preseason game of 2012 when Marcus Gilbert fell into his knee, injuring his ACL and MCL. Coach Tomlin initially called the injury “potentially severe.” DeCastro made it back to make his first start against the Dallas Cowboys in week 15 of the regular season.
Mike Adams (23) is a second year right tackle who found himself in 10 games his rookie season. Adams was drafted in the second round by the Steelers in the 2012 draft and seen early action due to injuries on the offensive line. Adams made six consecutive starts at right tackle in 2012 due to a Gilbert injury. Adams then became injured by a left ankle injury on November 25th, a contest against the Cleveland Browns.
“Change is inevitable. You’ve got to go with it,” Adams told Alan Robinson on Thursday. “I think we’re a young group with a lot of potential. And we’re working very hard to turn that potential into reality.”
Adams went on to say:
“We’ve got a guy in the middle there (Pouncey) who has been to three consecutive Pro Bowls and has been an All-Pro, and we’ve got a guy, Ramon Foster, who has been here four years,” Adams said. “I think our youth is a good thing.”
With the little experience the Steelers have on the offensive line, they have big expectations. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been one of their biggest fans saying time and time again that he believes the offensive line will be a strength on the team in 2013.