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Offensive Line Still a Major Concern After Latest Outing

Ben and the line

Ben and the line

The Steelers have stressed how important the play of the offensive line is for them to repeat as AFC North Champs in 2008.  If Thursday night in Toronto was any indication, this unit has a long way to go.  The game started with Marvel Smith and Willie Colon playing at tackle, Chris Kemoeatu and Kendall Simmons at guard, and Justin Hartwig at center.

Bottom line, the Steelers had issues rushing the football against what should be a good Bills D-line, and they didn’t do a heck of a lot to protect QB Ben Roethlisberger, who seemed rushed.  Now we all now that Ben sometimes does his best on the run, but it would be nice to see what he can do getting time in the pocket instead of having to run for his life a lot of the time.

There also seemed to be some miscommunication, as there were a couple of penalties across the board on the O-line.  From a critical holding call on third down on the first drive, to a couple of false starts that at one point made Ben peeved in the second quarter, the unit didn’t have one of its better nights overall.

Yes, it’s only preseason, but coming off what was a good outing last week vs the Eagles at home, this was a step backwards.  Let’s hope that they have a good week of practice, continue to make improvements across the board, and start to open some holes for Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall.  Oh, and protecting Ben a bit would be a start as well.

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.

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