Extracted this from Insider. Good comments by Arians. I expect the OL to do better this season, particularly since they seem committed to settle of the starting 5 early.
"In the meantime, Pittsburgh has plenty to be excited about. The team will feature the highest paid backup in the league, tackle Max Starks, but at least four of the starting five are set. A year ago, the o-line was a mess, center Jeff Hartings had just retired, and LarryZierlein was hired to shore up a unit that surrendered 49 sacks in 2006. The good news: Roethlisberger only went down 47 times a year ago, but, yeah, it's still FORTY-SEVEN. Pittsburgh still hasn't settled on a center, but Marvel Smith, Chris Kemoeatu, Kendall Simmons and Willie Colon are all penciled in atop the depth chart. Swap out Kemoeatu for Alan Faneca and it's the same cast of characters responsible for the carnage we were forced to watch the last two seasons. But at the start of camp, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians made an interesting admission about the offensive line:
Offensive line was responsible for probably 30 sacks, and Iím just throwing that out as a round number. There mightíve been 15 where the quarterback was trying to create plays. And Iím not going to stop that. But there were four or five by running backs, four or five by tight ends. Itís a blocking unit. Itís a receiver missing a hot or a quarterback missing a hot.
We've heard variations of this explanations from various sources, but never Arians and never with such specificity. I think most of us are willing to put up with Roethlisberger taking a few sacks if it means a lot more big plays. Assuming Big Ben is responsible for 15 to 20 sacks a season, it's up to everybody else -- o-line, running backs, tight ends, wide receivers -- to do their part. Is it insane to think the Steelers could surrender something less than 35 sacks? (That would've been good for 16th in the league in '07; I don't think it's asking too much to be just mediocre. We'll see.) The next few weeks are just as much about finding the five best fat guys to protect Roethlisberger as it is making sure every other offensive player knows their situational responsibilities. Head coach Mike Tomlin likes to eschew all the high-level pontificating for keeping things simple. This seems like the perfect example: know your job and execute."