another season, another O-line discussion.
First before I start ranting, I'm not necessarily blaming Tomlin or the Front office. clearly for the last several drafts they have trying to get top tier linemen into the huddle. I also agree that this group is extremely young, I understand they're learning and developing a new zone blocking scheme and that it takes time and experience to mature into a veteran o-lineman. So with saying all that, the truth of the matter is that unless those 5 guys gel pretty quickly - we'll be lucky to win 6 games. I probably sound like a broken record because this is not the first season I've said this - but our weakness in the 5 guys up front continues to be (in my opinion) the main reason why this team loses games. True, there are times when games are lost for various other reasons - but over the last several years (and specifically with the Tomlin era) I'd say weak O-line play has been a factor far more than any other. when you struggle to gain yards rushing. When you struggle to protect your QB. When you can't sustain drives to either score at best or flip field position at worst - all this combines to put undue pressure on the defense. Now to those who say the defense is equally responsible I would argue in today's NFL that's no longer the case. This is a league that wants scoring and protects offensive players at the expense of the defense. With all the restrictions placed on that side of the ball it's simply not realistic anymore to think ANY 11 defensive players can withstand the onslaught for lengths of time. That's why it's critical for an O-line to take control of the game so that we control the clock, control the field position and dominate time of possession. A decade ago there were one or two QB's in the league where the strategy was always to keep them off the field. Now with the preference to the offense that strategy is required for EVERY game. That has to be the #1 goal in today's NFL and without a great O-line you simply have no chance. Teams talk about impact players. We need our 5 guys up front to be an impact UNIT. Can it happen with this group? Will it happen with this group? I actually believe it will. I like DD. I like Adams. Pouncey is solid and we have youth. So we DO need to give it time and let this unit find it's stride. But until they do, get used to more games like this. And if they don't, I'd say patience is running out in the front office.