The week 14 offensive line breakdown report for the Pittsburgh Steelers win over the Cleveland Browns is now complete and overall it was not a bad performance by the group. The 6 penalties were of course the down points, but overall the pass protection was pretty solid on the night and they run blocking was above the line sans the 4 plays down at the Browns goal-line. Here we go with a look at the performances.
Max Starks – Starks had himself a bye week of sorts against Jayme Mitchell and Brian Schaefering his past Thursday night as he handled both ends well in both the pass and run blocking department. He only allowed 1 pressure in the game and only had one other demerit blocking out in space on a quick pass. The Steelers did not run much to the left side per the usual, but Starks did his job turning out his man well for the most part. While he was not perfect on the night, he was silently effective in the game. He got to the edge nice on speed rushes and handled the twist and stunts well. His techniques is as solid as ever right now in pass protection and he continues to use his long arms and strong hands well in pass protection. A good game for him.
Maurkice Pouncey – Talk about a fighter, Pouncey really did not want to come out of this game after injuring his ankle and tried to fight through it. He was having a banner night against the Browns defensive tackles and was perfect in his pass protection before leaving the game. He is so fast off the ball after the snap and used his legs well driving his man at the point of attack. That ankle injury really hurt him however and you have to wonder if he will miss Monday night.
Ramon Foster – It was a good game pass protection wise for Foster and a just above average run blocking night for him. He did have the penalty called on him that added a demerit. The only time he runs into problems is when he is not ablle to hold his blocks long enough in the running game, which is not often. During the 4 plays down on the Browns goal-line, I thought he did his job well on all but 1 of the plays as there were gaps on his side as he blocked down. A 90% overall score is nothing to sneeze at and I will take that type of game from him every week.
Doug Legursky – The night got off to a rough start for Legursky with 2 early pressures allowed. His run blocking work at guard was pretty solid and most of his run blocking demerits came when he moved over to center when Pouncey exited injured. The pass protection pressures were a result of letting arms into his body that drove him back or allowed the pass rusher separation and inside gap access. It has to be hard on a player to bounce around so often on the line, but Legursky is smart and knows every assignment and both guard spots and center. It was a good night for him, just not dominant.
Marcus Gilbert – the 2 false start penalties by Gilbert had him in the Sean Kugler dog house early. He also allowed 3 pressures on the night, but luckily none resulted in a sack. That right there adds up to 5 of his 8 demerits, so adding in 3 more resulting from blocking on running plays and you get his 8 total. Outside of the penalties and pressures allowed it was a good game for him and he really fought hard in the second half, especially in the run blocking department. You hardly heard the name of Jabaal Sheard Thursday night and that is always a good sign a right tackle had a good game against the Browns. We still have not seen a complete game yet from the rookie, but I have a feeling one is coming soon.
Chris Kemoeatu – The first 6 plays were fine for Kemoeatu upon entering the game when Pouncey went down, but then the wheels came off for the rest of the game. The 3 penalties were brutal and his abilty to lead through the hole on the counter lead play has dimished. Pulling right at once was the bright spot of his game, but now he is often late getting to the hole and clogging things up. The best example of this was the second down and goal play. He got to hole late and turned his block inside instead of getting linebacker Chris Gocong. Had he even attempted to go after Gocong, I think that Rashard Mendenhall gets into the endzone. Kemoeatu is able to get off the ball when going straight line, but he is north and south only and was easily avoided at the second level failing to make his block a few times. Not a good night for him.
Trai Essex – Essex saw just 3 snaps down in the redzone and did fine as an extra tight end. No demerits from him.
Skill Positions – Isaac Redman allowed a sack of Charlie Batch after picking up a blitzer late and Mike Wallace still needs to make a better effort blocking when it is called for. It has never been a specialty of his. All of the tight ends had a good day run blocking and that includes rookie Weslye Saunders. Hines Ward was also on his screws on the few plays he was needed.