The Pittsburgh Steelers have high expectations on the offensive side of the ball for the 2015 season and after their record-breaking performance in 2014 who could blame them.
The Steelers became the very first team in NFL history to have a 4,500-yard passer ( Ben Roethlisberger, 4952 passing yards), a 1,500-yard receiver( Antonio Brown 1698 receiving yards) and a 1,300-yard rusher ( Le’Veon Bell 1361 yards rushing) in the same season.
With all these great offensive weapons and an elite veteran quarterback running the show it’s easy to forget a key ingredient that all this success hinges on.. the offensive line.
The Steelers 2015 offensive line may be the best group quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has had protecting him during his NFL career. The quarterback had this to say about his offensive line heading into the 2015 season…
Ben Roethlisberger: “That group in front of me is as good as any in the league, and as good as any I’ve ever had. It’s great.”
Led by 4 time Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey 26,now heading into his 6th season, the offensive line returns all five starters from last season.
Guard Ramon Foster is the oldest veteran of the group at only 29 years of age. Now in his 7th season, Foster originally signed by the Steelers as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2009 and has become one of the Steelers’ team leaders.
Guard David DeCastro 25, was a first round pick in 2012 and is heading into his 4th season. He is primed to have a breakout season in 2015 after a very successful 2014 campaign.
Left tackle Kelvin Beachum 26, a seventh-round pick in 2012 has started the past two seasons and despite being undersized for his position has fast become one of the better left tackles in the league.
Right tackle Marcus Gilbert 27,is entering his 5th season after being a 2nd round pick in 2011 and has 46 starts under his belt.
The average age of the starting line is just a little over 26 years of age and it doesn’t hurt that this young group has one of the all time great offensive lineman and offensive line coaches Mike Munchak molding them.
Munchak is now entering his second season with the Steelers and this starting group.
The fact that this starting group has been together for a while has helped them grow as a unit.
Maurkice Pouncey spoke of the closeness of this starting unit …
Maurkice Pouncey :“We have a unique bond. We spend a lot of time together. Those guys are like my twin brothers and I wouldn’t want to play with anyone else. We gel together well. Our chemistry is really good. We play together well. We talk together. That goes a long way. We help each other out.”
The Steelers offensive line gave up 33 sacks in 2014 ,an all time low for the Steelers, during 16 game starts in the Roethlisberger era.
However don’t think they are satisfied with last years results…
Kelvin Beachum:“We have to take it to another level. I think he ( Coach Munchak ) is pushing the envelope a little bit, but you would expect that. He got to know us the first year and knows what we can do and our limitations. He knows where to push us. He’s starting to push the envelope. He wants the offense to be better, the run game to be better. We love that.”
“We need to press for something better.”
Maurkice Pouncey: “We played as a team last year, the offensive line played really well. The defense played well. We just have to keep building on last year. That was last year. I wish we could live in the past but we can’t. We have to go back out there and prove ourselves this year.
“We are excited. We have to keep working. Never have the mindset that last year was good enough. Keep pushing forward and fix the things we messed up on.”
Ramon Foster:“This year we can’t be the same,we have to change in the sense of being on top of everything we do. Teams are going to know what we are doing now being that everybody is back and we have that year behind us. We have to evolve. It can’t be the same thing. We have to show improvement every week this year.
Steeler Nation, as you can see this offensive line is striving hard to be the best it can be and everyone seems to be on the same page.
The Pittsburgh Steelers offense may be on the road to great things in 2015, but make no mistake , the offensive line will be the key that starts this high-powered offensive engine.
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