MY BREAKFAST TABLE — I spent more time than any human ever should researching recent Steelers’ offensive line starting lineups in reporting today’s print Trib article (Steelers’ steady offensive line paid dividends this season). I went all the way back to 2005 (the Steelers’ first Super Bowl-winning season of the Roethlisberger Era) to identify trends for a franchise that, on face value, seems to have bucked the conventional you-must-be-good-in-the-trenches-to-win-a-Super-Bowl trend since that season.
I found there are many “cut offs” I could have used in terms of a season that the Steelers went from their long-lost reputation of stability and strength on its offensive line to what they’ve been — again, in terms of reputation — in recent years: A revolving door of personnel, mediocre results.
Turns out that — despite my unquenched desire to type the words “Flozell Adams” and “Justin Hartwig” into a story during the year 2015 — in actuality, 2011 made the most logical place to start the analysis. (This still allowed references to Jonathan Scott and Trai Essex!).
Anyway, as so often happens, space restrictions in the print edition did not allow for the below stats/lists/compilations to appear. Luckily, we have The Steel Mill to act as the perfect depository for such information…
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A year-by-year breakdown showing the in-flux nature of Steelers’ offensive lines of the recent past, compared to the relative harmony of 2014
(Note: all “players used” references are to starting lineup only)
9 OL combinations used, 9 OL-men used, no players made 16 starts at one position
Team allowed 42 sacks, ranked 14th in NFL in rushing, was No. 18 in Pro Football Focus pass-block ratings, 10th in run-block ratings
7 OL combinations used , 9 OL-men used, 1 player made 16 starts at one position
Team allowed 37 sacks, ranked 26th in NFL in rushing, was No. 21 in Pro Football Focus pass-block ratings, 31st in run-block ratings
7 OL combinations used, 9 OL-men used, 1 players made 16 starts at one position
Team allowed 43 sacks, ranked 27th in NFL in rushing, was No. 14 in Pro Football Focus pass-block ratings, 20th in run-block ratings
23 OL combinations used, 15 OL-men used, 2 players made 16 starts at one position
Team allowed an average of 40.7 sacks, ranked an average of 22nd in NFL in rushing, average rankings by Pro Football Focus were 18th (pass blocking) and 20th (run blocking)
3 OL combinations used, 7 OL-men used, 3 players made 16 starts at one position
Team allowed 33 sacks, ranked 16th in NFL in rushing, was No. 5 in Pro Football Focus pass-block ratings, ninth in run-block ratings
QUITE A LIST
Offensive linemen who started for the Steelers from 2011-13
(*-Denotes player who started for 2014 Steelers)
Listed in order from left tackle rightward to right tackle, a list of all the different starting combinations the Steelers have used on their offensive line in recent years
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