ESPN Power Rankings Week 1 – Steelers Rank #16

The Steelers seem ready to go as they are a couple days away from starting the season, but the ESPN gurus have a different take on the Black and Gold

Guy Whimper is the only offseason addition for the Steelers’ offensive line, which produced a league-worst 1.7 yards before contact per rush last season.”

Sure Whimper is the only offseason addition on the line, but overall the team has been employing a different run scheme, and I think that’s being overlooked in the process of what the team is trying to accomplish with the new way they want to run.

As far the 1.7 yards before contact, look for that to change with Le’Veon Bell pounding into the line as well as making people miss once he gets healthy. Bottom line, I have a hard time agreeing that the Steelers are 16th right now in the league.

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Matt Loede
Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.

1 Comment on "ESPN Power Rankings Week 1 – Steelers Rank #16"

  1. Whimper is picked on by the media because of his name, but he’s actually a good prospect at OT. He already has better footwork than Adams. Joe Long has possibilities as well.

    Otherwise, the ESPN guru is right: the Steelers did not upgrade the O-line via draft or free agency, and it showed in the four preseason games. Until the O-line execution improves, none of our backs is going to excel, including Bell. You don’t build a running game from the backfield forward; you build the line first. Tomlin has tried to do that; we have two #1 and two #2 draft picks on the O-line. But those picks have yet to live up to their promise.

    I agree that the Steelers as a team are a little better than #16 in the league, solely because of our Defense; the Offense considered alone is worse than #16, as our record last season reflected. Our D was good enough last year to earn us a playoff spot; but the Offense stumbled, and the O-line play was a big part of that debacle. Ben R’s late season injuries — due to poor O-line blocking — cost us a post season spot.

    Fans shouldn’t gloss over this issue because it is unpleasant. The lack of experience, lack of depth, and lack of execution on our O-line is real and serious. The prospect of O-line injuries (inevitable, as it was last year) weighs heavily on this team. The question is whether our coaching staff can turn O-line potential into performance before the season gets away from us. I would not be surprised if Tomlin is forced to play Whimper, Beachum, and Long on the O-line at some point during the year. Our margin for error is that thin.

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