View Full Version : Steelers face dominant defensive line

10-23-2009, 01:10 AM
10/22/2009 3:30 AM

Steelers face dominant defensive line
By F. Dale Lolley, Staff writer, dlolley@observer-reporter.com
http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/loc ... ne-anxious (http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/localsports/10-22-Steelers-o-line-anxious)

PITTSBURGH - For the past few years, the defensive line of the Minnesota Vikings has lived up to the marauding nature of their namesakes.

Since 2006, no NFL team has allowed fewer rushing yards than the Vikings. Since 2004, no player has more quaretrback sacks than than Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen.

You might think that, given they must block Minnesota's talented defensive line Sunday when the Steelers (4-2) host the Vikings (6-0), the Steelers' offensive linemen might be worried.

If you did, then you'd be wrong.

The Steelers' offensive linemen are looking forward to facing Minnesota.

"They're one of the better defensive lines and they have been for a few years. They've got the résumé," said Steelers guard Trai Essex. "As an offensive line, we're looking forward to showing that we're a good and up-and-coming offensive line."

After allowing 49 sacks and paving the way for a running game that averaged just 3.7 yards per carry last year, Pittsburgh's offensive line was considered a weak link. Just one change was made on that unit - Essex replaced Darnell Stapleton at right guard.

The sack totals are down this season, as the Steelers have given up 16 in six games, and running back Rashard Mendenhall has averaged 5.1 yards per carry.

More importantly, the Steelers are averaging more than 400 yards of offense, nearly 100 more than last year when the team won its sixth Super Bowl.

The criticism of the offensive line has subsided considerably.

"It seems we only hear about the bad; we never hear about the good. I think we're getting better each week," Essex said. "Personally, I feel like I'm getting more comfortable at right guard every week. As a unit, I think that helps us out. In terms of communication, we're operating at an all-time high and not having nearly as many mental errors. ... I think it's all coming together."

It better, especially with the Vikings on deck.

In Allen and defensive tackles Pat and Kevin Williams, the Vikings have perhaps the best defensive line in the NFL. Each was selected to the Pro Bowl last year, just the third time in NFL history one team has had three defensive linemen so honored.

The Williams duo - all 630 pounds of them - present a particularly tough matchup for the Steelers and are a big reason why the Vikings are allowing only 93 yards rushing per game.

"Any time you get a chance to go against a worthy opponent, you want to go out and do your best," said Steelers right tackle Willie Colon. "We're looking forward to it, especially those two big boys in the middle. It will be a good look for us.

"If we can run against these guys, it will be a shoutout to the NFL that we're pretty good."

"If we're doing good, we'll stay with it," Colon continued. "If we're not, we put it on (quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's) shoulders and let him take us home."

Odds and end zones

Safety Troy Polamalu (knee), defensive end Travis Kirschke (back) and wide receiver Hines Ward (coach's decision) did not practice Wednesday. Mendenhall (knee bruise) was limited. None of the injuries are considered serious.

10-23-2009, 03:04 PM
yea well those vikings better be prepared to face our dominant offensive line.. :P :Clap......obviously using a little bit of sarcasm...

10-23-2009, 03:50 PM
This will be Steelers O-line biggest test...Big Ben needs to dump it to Mendy, Moore and Heath..