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fordfixer
08-07-2011, 02:11 AM
It's all on offensive line for Steelers this year
By Ralph N. Paulk, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, August 7, 2011
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 50419.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_750419.html)

Jonathan Scott lumbered off Latrobe Memorial Field on a breezy Friday night with his helmet dangling at his side. He wiped from his eyes a perpetual stream of sweat as he labored to salute the Steelers' faithful along a trackside fence.

It was a long, hard practice for the 6-foot-6, 320-pound offensive tackle and an even longer walk toward the row of school buses for the short trip back to St. Vincent College.

Scott, who endured the sometimes-insufferable heat of Texas while playing for the Longhorns, admitted to surviving his hardest day of training camp since free-agent signees were allowed to start practicing Thursday.

On Saturday, Scott was back in the trenches, getting his massive hands dirty while battling several teammates for the starting gig in Friday's preseason opener against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

Scott, who pulled up with a minor ankle injury late in Saturday's practice, isn't obsessed with starting. But he knows the next few weeks are pivotal if the Steelers are to carve a path toward Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

"We've got to win the Super Bowl in August," Scott said. "It's a slow process sometimes, but every day I sense we're getting better."

The Steelers' offensive front has room for growth. A year ago, the unit was ravaged by nagging injuries and often plagued by less-than-inspiring play — including a spotty performance in losing to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV in Dallas.

So far, offensive line coach Sean Kugler appears confident that his guys are capable of escorting running back Rashard Mendenhall to more than the 63-yard effort mustered against a Packers defense that ranked 15th against the run.

Traditionally, the Steelers' offensive line is among the best in the NFL. They weren't bad in 2010, considering Kugler had to juggle a patched-up front and several linemen were forced to audition before being cast into different roles.

But already Kugler and head coach Mike Tomlin are feeling the pinch:

>> Second-year center Maurkice Pouncey suffered a mild ankle sprain Friday. Pouncey is expected back before week's end.

>> Guard Chris Kemoeatu is hobbled by a left knee injury that could sideline him for the entire preseason.

>> Guard Ramon Foster left yesterday's practice after suffering what Tomlin termed "a training-camp type injury."

Kugler is left juggling an offensive line that returns only two starters — Pouncey and Kemoeatu — since last year's season opener against the Atlanta Falcons.

"We have to be versatile," Kemoeatu said. "We have had the willingness to move around. We had a lot of musical chairs on the offensive line last year, but we managed."

The Steelers began training camp shorthanded on the offensive line after NFL owners lifted the lockout. The free-agent signees -- including Scott, center/guard Doug Legursky and left tackle Willie Colon -- weren't allowed to participate in practices until players ratified the CBA, which didn't happen until Thursday.

"This was a totally unorthodox offseason," Colon said.

While Kugler is cautiously optimistic two weeks into training camp, Scott is convinced the offensive line will be ready for the rival Baltimore Ravens in the regular-season opener on Sept. 11.

"We needed to get the kinks out after we were locked out for several months," Scott said. "We haven't played football since the Super Bowl. Right now, we're doing the hard, little things that make you great during December football.

"We just need to keep in the back of minds we have to get into the motion of things, particularly with techniques."

While Pouncey and Colon are entrenched at their position, others are competing for jobs.

"You always want the same group in there all the time," Kugler said. "'We went through it last year, but you have to do with what you have.

"They knew at one point there would be camp, so they got their minds focused on playing football. We're confident the chemistry will come quick. Last year, there were some new things technique-wise, but we aren't making any changes this season."

Even though the Steelers' offensive line is among the most respected in the NFL, it was not without its shortcomings last season. The Steelers ranked 11th in rushing, 14th in passing and surrendered 43 quarterback sacks.

Kugler is looking for consistency and balance. And he's hoping someone slides seamlessly into the tackle spot vacated by the departure of Max Starks and can be consistent enough to improve on the 2010 numbers.

"We are also focused on getting terminology down," Kugler said. "There were times when we ran the ball well, but there were times when we needed to be more efficient. We can finish the job we started last year by being more efficient."

Right now, all eyes are on Scott, Tony Hills, Marcus Gilbert, Keith Williams, Chris Scott and Kyle Jolly as the Steelers try to develop depth on a unit that led the NFL last season with 37 holding penalties.

"I think Scott has to step up in a big way with Starks gone," Kemoeatu said. "But we all will be prepared mentally and physically to play."

"It's going to be a challenge," Pouncey said. "We don't have the luxury of trying to develop chemistry. I think we've got to have that right away."

Read more: It's all on offensive line for Steelers this year - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1UJwoqN7T (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_750419.html#ixzz1UJwoqN7T)

hawaiiansteel
08-07-2011, 02:17 AM
Tony Hills being one injury away to Jonathan Scott from being the starter at LT is a very scary thing.

Steelerphile
08-07-2011, 06:38 AM
Tony Hills being one injury away to Jonathan Scott from being the starter at LT is a very scary thing.

This won't be known until the guy gets a chance to get some real playing time. Everybody needs a chance to play and prove themselves. Hills has the size and the ability to be a good player. If he works hard and stays away from major injuries, he could be a nice addition to the rotation.

Oviedo
08-07-2011, 08:48 AM
I remain more concerned about the secondary thatn the OL. I have confidence in Kugler's coaching of the OL. He proved last year that he could adjust and fix things. I haven't seen that in three years on in secondary.

steelblood
08-07-2011, 09:46 AM
Yeah, the secondary is just as big of a ?mark.

Va Steelr
08-07-2011, 04:09 PM
Lets hope Lake is as good a coach as Kugs,he has some young talent to work with.

hawaiiansteel
08-07-2011, 06:06 PM
Tony Hills being one injury away to Jonathan Scott from being the starter at LT is a very scary thing.

This won't be known until the guy gets a chance to get some real playing time. Everybody needs a chance to play and prove themselves.


I just hope Ben isn't playing QB when Hills gets his chance...

steelz09
08-07-2011, 11:23 PM
I just think Kemo should shut up w/ his comments and worry about himself.

hawaiiansteel
08-08-2011, 04:56 PM
How worried should we be about the Steelers O-line?

AUTHOR: Kimmy
Aug 4, 2011

http://nicepickcowher.com/files/2011/04/Steelers-offensive-linemen.jpg

Steelers Offensive line has taken a lot of heat over the years.

Was it just me or did we seem to cut more members of the offensive line than we signed? With the flurry of activity for cuts, free agent signings, and contract restructuring just about over, and with fingers crossed a new CBA ratified and all players fully practicing today we are left wondering if the right moves were made concerning the O-line.

The first and most prominent cut was Max Starks, whose $6.5 million salary was too much to keep on the books. Although Starks was a fan and a Ben favorite, his salary plus the fact that he was apparently injecting himself with butter during his surgery rehab, left the club no other option. Then 36 year old Flozell Adams, who played solidly in 2010 wasn’t willing to take a pay cut or move to a back-up position. This freed up room for Willie Colon and Jonathan Scott to be signed. Without full practices, it’s hard to tell this early who exactly will end up on the line protecting Ben while he scrambles around the pocket causing everyone to scream, “Why does he hold on to the friggin ball so long?!”

So how worried should we be? Will Jonathan Scott turn into a solid and dependable starter? Will Willie Colon stay injury and holding penalty-free for the duration of the season? And how did Maurkice, his brother, and some other guy all fit on top of that fridge in the “planking” photo? These are all serious questions that need answers. As training camp progresses and the team can get some preseason games under their belt, things will fall into place as they always do.

I, for one, am not worried. As much flack as our O-line seems to get, the Steelers have been to 3 of the last 6 Super Bowls so they must be doing something right. Ben’s style of play accounts for a lot of the times the defense is able to get to him, sometimes he can get out of it and sometimes he can’t. It’s not always a matter of a tackle or guard letting someone blow right by them. Plus, we have a solid and dependable center in Maurkice Pouncey. Even with coming off an injury and just one season under his belt, this kid shows all the signs of one day joining Webster and Dawson as outstanding centers in Steelers history.

There is a chance with the restructuring the Steelers veterans have done in the past few days to help the team get under the cap that either Starks or Adams can be resigned if they agree to less money. Depth on the O-line is never a bad thing so hopefully because there has been no news of signings to any other teams from either of them that a return could be inevitable. Until then we have just over a week before the first preseason game and just a little over a month until Week #1 to debate about the moves that were made or not made.

http://nicepickcowher.com/2011/08/04/ho ... rs-o-line/ (http://nicepickcowher.com/2011/08/04/how-worried-should-we-be-about-the-steelers-o-line/)

Eich
08-09-2011, 12:17 PM
Traditionally, the Steelers' offensive line is among the best in the NFL.

Even though the Steelers' offensive line is among the most respected in the NFL,...


Seriously Ralph?

ikestops85
08-09-2011, 12:52 PM
I'm not sold on Colon as a starting RT. I didn't think he was very good before he tore his achilles and supposedly there is only a 50-50 chance that you recover enough from this injury to play at your previous level. Add the fact that he is a penalty machine and I'm more worried about that side than I am about LT.

I was really hoping that we would bring back Adams for another year at a reduced cost until Gilbert is ready to take over.

hawaiiansteel
08-09-2011, 04:05 PM
I just think Kemo should shut up w/ his comments and worry about himself.


"Steelers LG Chris Kemoeatu started training camp on the active/PUP list while dealing with arthritis and bone fragments in his knee.

Kemoeatu said the swelling was so bad in July that he couldn't get out of bed for awhile. Doctors prescribed rehab instead of surgery, and Kemoeatu has graduated to running on the side at practice. He hopes to be activated from PUP list as early as next week."

Source: Scott Brown on Twitter
Aug 9, 3:14 PM

RuthlessBurgher
08-10-2011, 01:50 PM
I remain more concerned about the secondary thatn the OL. I have confidence in Kugler's coaching of the OL. He proved last year that he could adjust and fix things. I haven't seen that in three years on in secondary.

The difference is...

If someone misses an assignment in the secondary, the opponent might score a TD.

We can come back from that.

On the other hand, if someone misses an assignment on the o-line, Ben may need to be placed on injured reserve.

We can't come back from that.

hawaiiansteel
08-10-2011, 02:02 PM
Malecki is taking center stage with Steelers

By Scott Brown, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, August 10, 2011

http://files.pittsburghlive.com/photos/2011-08-09/0810SteelmaleckCAPIn-a.jpg

Former Pitt standout John Malecki is third on the team's depth chart at left guard, but the Steelers are giving him a look at center.


John Malecki stayed after practice Tuesday to snap for reserve quarterback and fellow Western Pennsylvania native Charlie Batch.

Malecki is not listed at center on the Steelers' depth chart. The scene, however, made perfect sense, given how wild a ride he has enjoyed and endured since leaving Pitt.

The former Franklin Regional High standout has spent time with the Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans.

If Malecki has learned anything less than two years into his professional career, it is how to adapt. That is why he has embraced working at center even though he didn't play the position in college and has been a guard in the NFL.

"Just being able to be in a (training) camp is a blessing," Malecki said, "and then to be able to go to a camp with a team I've rooted for my entire life is even better."

The Steelers signed Malecki on Thursday after guard Dorian Brooks left the team. The 6-foot-2, 298-pounder is third on the team's depth chart at left guard, but the Steelers are giving him a look at center.

Malecki practiced center while at Pitt but never played the position after moving to the offensive line following two seasons as a nose tackle.

Center, Malecki said, "is where I need to be playing because I'm not the tallest guy."

Malecki had been with the Buccaneers before being released. He was at home in Murrysville, pondering his next step, when Brooks' departure left an opening for an offensive lineman.

Signing with the Steelers meant a considerably shorter drive than Malecki is used to when reporting to a new team.

The proximity has allowed his parents, John and Angela, to watch him practice several times, including Friday night at Latrobe Memorial Stadium.

"It's been a rocky road, and hopefully I can get in somewhere and just keep playing," Malecki said. "It's been a great time for me, and I'm glad to be here and be with the Steelers."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1Udsb8y46 (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_750827.html#ixzz1Udsb8y46)

SteelTorch
08-10-2011, 04:22 PM
Every time someone brings up our Superbowl berths to defend the O-line, I just want to scream. We've won IN SPITE of them, not because of them.

Slapstick
08-10-2011, 05:00 PM
Yeah, between the horrible offensive line, the incompetent offensive coordinator, the terrible defensive secondary, the cheap ownership and the soft defensive game plans, it's amazing that the Steelers ever win a game...

hawaiiansteel
08-10-2011, 05:08 PM
this should be our starting OL against the Readskins on Friday:


Ken Laird via twitter @ Ken_Laird:

oline remains j. scott, legursky, pouncey, c.scott, colon left to right

8/10/11

fordfixer
08-12-2011, 03:10 AM
Great big Scott has shot at guard
Friday, August 12, 2011
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11224/1166811-66-0.stm

Chris Scott is one of the lucky ones. As a fifth-round draft choice in 2010, he could participate in offseason training activities, watch film and sit in on coaches meetings before he went to training camp.

Without that, he might not be where he is today -- on the verge of becoming the starting right guard for the Steelers.

"Being able to learn what I learned last year by sitting in the classroom, all of the time I was able to do that, was good for me," Scott said. "The coaches really focus on a lot of drill work and technique. Now rookies are getting thrown into the fire."

Scott never made it to training camp as a rookie because he broke his foot working out at his alma mater, Tennessee, in late June. Even though he missed the entire preseason, the Steelers placed him on the physically-unable-to-perform list because they liked what they saw of Scott (6 feet 5, 340) in offseason workouts.

Six weeks into the regular season, when he was eligible to be activated, the Steelers placed him on the 53-man roster, and he never has left.

But imagine what could have been?

Scott probably wouldn't be in this position if his first season was affected by the lockout that prevented rookies from working with coaches and participating in OTAs this year. After he couldn't participate in training camp, Scott might have been waived injured without that opportunity to impress the coaches in the offseason.

"It's a credit to how hard he's working," said right tackle Willie Colon, who, like Scott, was injured right before training camp in 2010 and missed the season with an Achilles tendon tear. "He was extremely attentive in meetings. He was one of those guys who worked and never talked a lot."

When the Steelers open their preseason tonight against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Scott probably won't be the first-team right guard. But he will get a bulk of the snaps at that position because the Steelers want to continue to take a long look at the lineman who has been one of the standouts at training camp.

Because of his thick build and powerful run-blocking ability, Scott has a good chance to open the season at right guard alongside Colon. Curiously, Scott started every game at left tackle his final three seasons at Tennessee.

"He's a legitimate challenger to anyone," coach Mike Tomlin said of Scott. "We haven't anointed anyone at this juncture. He's in the mix and he's in the mix because of how he's prepared and performed."

Doug Legursky, who started four games at right guard last season, likely will open there tonight against the Redskins. Ramon Foster, who started the final 10 games, including playoffs, in 2010, might not play after getting what Tomlin termed a "mild concussion" at camp early in the week.

But the Steelers aren't ready to declare anyone the starter for 2011, especially because Scott has worked himself into a serious challenger in just a short amount of time.

The reason: The Steelers like the idea of a thick body at guard because the other teams in the AFC North play a 4-3 defensive front, allowing Scott to line up over a tackle and use his run-blocking skills.

"But he's extremely mobile for a guy his size," Colon said. "He's picking up the offense really well. They're asking a lot of him, and he's stepping up to the bell."

"He's done a good job of representing himself out here," Tomlin said. "The circumstances of the [collective bargaining agreement] allowed him to get some quality reps with the first unit early on. He slid in and also got some opportunities at guard and he's done a nice job."

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11224/11 ... z1UnQA7DGr (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11224/1166811-66-0.stm#ixzz1UnQA7DGr)