Steelers offensive line braces for challenge vs. Jets
The Steelers' offensive line has been hammered often for its inability to carve out alleys in the run game. It's been criticized for failing to keep quarterback Ben Roethlisberger upright against the league's best pass rushers.
Again, the hammer dropped on Sunday in a season-opening 31-19 loss in Denver. The Steelers netted only 75 rushing yards and Roethlisberger was sacked five times.
More troublesome than the numbers were the losses of guard Ramon Foster and right tackle Marcus Gilbert. Foster left early in the first quarter with a migraine that impaired his vision, while Gilbert suffered a hyperextended knee.
Foster and Gilbert said they expect to play Sunday in the Steelers' home opener against the New York Jets at Heinz Field. If they are unable to go, Doug Legursky will replace Foster and rookie Mike Adams will step in for Gilbert.
Foster said he was back to “feeling normal,” but the Steelers' medical staff monitored him throughout Wednesday's practice.
“There was a hit on my head while I was on the field, but nothing major,” Foster said. “I finished the series out, then I sat on the bench, and my vision was a little distorted. I looked at (center Maurkice) Pouncey, and said, ‘I think I have a concussion or something.' ”
Foster said he passed a series of concussion tests and a CAT scan proved negative. He added he wasn't sure if the condition was caused by sinuses or Denver's high altitude, which prevented safety Ryan Clark from playing because of his sickle cell trait.
“I was glad I was taken out of the game before something worse happened,” said Foster, who had a mild migraine when the team arrived in Denver last Saturday.
Foster and Gilbert dressed for practice as the offensive line tried to figure out how to handle the Jets' swarming defensive line, which uses multiple fronts to disguise its pass-rushing schemes and to create controlled chaos.
The Jets' defensive front is somewhat similar to Baltimore, which held the Steelers to 66 and 70 yards rushing in last season's sweep.
“The Jets are a smart and complicated defense,” Foster said. “There might be a few clips pulled from the Baltimore games that have some stuff the Jets might do.”
“They try to mix things up to try to cause confusion,” left guard Willie Colon said. “It'll be a key for us to stay (in position) and identify where they're coming from.”
The Jets appear to have a decisive advantage on the offensive line, especially after an impressive 48-28 thumping of Buffalo.
“It starts up front,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said. “I think we are the only team in the NFL with three Pro Bowl offensive linemen (tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson, center Nick Mangold and guard Brandon Moore). We lean heavily on those guys, no question about it.”
Ralph N. Paulk is staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7923.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers film session: Harrison on the field often
- Steelers are vowing to fix the costly penalties, lack of self-discipline
- Jaguars’ Bortles is mirror image of Steelers’ Roethlisberger
- Starkey: Slapstick Steelers deserved to lose
- NFL record little solace for Steelers WR Brown
- Steelers secondary aims to improve execution in order to prevent future mistakes
- Infractions, lack of discipline cost Steelers in loss to Buccaneers
- Steelers notebook: Harrison feeling down after loss in return
- Steelers’ LeBeau faces another challenge
- Bucs’ Murphy turns back the clock to burn Steelers again
- Steelers DE Heyward making strides