Steelers Running Game Suffered The Most In 2012 Without Mike Adams On The Field

It certainly wasn\’t a great season for the Pittsburgh Steelers when it came to running the football in 2012. In fact, it was a down right lousy one. They ended the season with 1,537 net yards rushing and that was the lowest output since 2003 when they rushed for 1,488 yards.

The Steelers offensive line once again suffered through several injuries in 2012 on their way to starting 7 different line combinations over the course of the season and that certainly played a role in the running game being lousy. The hardest position hit on the line this season was right tackle where Marcus Gilbert started 5 games there while rookies Mike Adams and Kelvin Beachum started 6 and 5 respectively. If that wasn\’t enough, guard Ramon Foster was forced to close out the season finale against the Cleveland Browns at right tackle after Beachum left the game with a concussion.

Adams, who suffered an ankle injury in the Week 12 loss to the Browns, was perhaps the biggest loss the Steelers had on their offensive line when it came to running the football in 2012. During the season the Steelers rushed for 4.56 yards per carry on plays when Adams was out on the field as opposed to 3.76 yards per carry when he wasn\’t. That\’s a .80 difference if you are scoring at home.

When Gilbert was on the field the Steelers rushed for 2.78 yards per carry and 3.82 when he wasn\’t. With Beachum it wasn\’t much better as the team rushed for 3.44 yards per carry with him on the field and 3.80 when he wasn\’t.

In the 5 full games that Adams started and played every snap in the Steelers rushed for 694 yards on 147 rushes for a very robust 4.72 yards per rush. The team of course went 4-1 in those 5 games with the lone loss coming against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 11. Keep in mind that they didn\’t have the services of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in that game.

Adams certainly had his problems in the pass protection department as a rookie, but it is hard to overlook the difference that he made in the run blocking department. This will be something that the Steelers can build on moving into 2013 when Adams is projected to be the starting left tackle if veteran Max Starks is not re-signed.

The Steelers have to find a way to run the ball better in 2013 and Adams certainly will be expected to play a big role in that.

  • SteelerDave

    I give a ton of credo to Adams. He seems to have grown up as a person and is turning out to be the biggest 2nd round steal in recent memory.

  • Mikey Hoje

    could you really attribute of yard per run increase to one single member of OL Adams? it seems over simplified and stretched…

  • The 20% increase in yardage with Adams sounds great but I agree that given the sample size, uncommon opponents and variation in the rest of the line you can’t draw any conclusions from numbers alone.

    Hellava good sign though!

  • If you go back and watch his game tape, you will see how well he was mauling people and getting to the second level. Once he puts his passing game together, he should be a good one for us for years to come.

  • zyzak

    Once the team finally gets a good line coach they will be much better. That Kugler dude sucked

  • steeltown

    Bottom line is Adams played pretty well as a rookie.. save the Ravens game where he was terrible when facing Kruger, which coincidentally Beachum excelled at later in the season. Adams needs to improve in pass protection, but he played and on the opposite side that he is accustomed to, small sample size but encouraging

  • steeltown

    I dont think you can, but I do think the OL combination with him in there was the best they had all season. I believe he entered the game in the Titans game when Gilbert went down and they went 4-2 from there and had three 100yd rushers in 6games.. still unsure if he can play LT at the next level though

  • Dale Miller

    Why not have Adams on the right and Gilbert on the left?

  • SteelerDave

    Exactly. I have said all season that Adams needs to be our RT and Gilbert needs a season behind Max to take over and play LT where Gilbert himself feels natural and is where he wants to play.

  • Thomas

    If Adams is the better Run Blocker and Gilbert is the better pass blocker and the steelers are a right handed running team, why not just have Gilbert play left?

    Adams was drafted to play left but wasn’t Gilbert aswell? In nearly the same draft position no less

  • steeltown

    I think they might try that.. before Adams was drafted, Gilbert was playing some LT in practice and has said he wants to play there in the past. He played some on both sides in college

  • steeltown


  • Tim Culligan

    sean kuglar was a good coach, he has had so little talent to work with that there was no way he could have a top tier o-line when it came to running. add that to a qb that likes to hold the ball and you get the results we had.
    he wouldnt get a D1 head coaching job if he “sucked”.

  • Tim Culligan

    agreed. and i dont think Dave was trying to oversimplify, merely just point out a interesting and noteworthy stat. Adams definitely looked better than gilbert and kelvin when it came to run blocking, and thats a good thing for the future.

  • Not sure who he looking at my post I do on this other web site but it seems I say something and then Dave says it here…lol,,,maybe great minds think alike but I said two different times in the last week the difference our offense did when Adams was in the lineup whether it was him or not there was a difference

  • Maurice_hill_district

    In passblocking Adams stunk. Passblocking is kinda important for position of offensive tackle, actually passblocking is more important. He has the size to improve & of course he was just a rookie. But Adams was a turnstyle on pass plays.

    Adams was outplayed by a rookie 7th round pick Beachum when Beachum replaced him. Beachum is smaller & has shorter arms & smaller school, yet outplayed Adams when Beachum replaced Adams.

    If Adams is the worse passblocker than Beachum & Foster & Gilbert, then maybe guard is Adams’ future, I wuldnt rule it out.

  • SteelSpine

    I too wanted Adams to play well, but your saying Adams played well this year, sorry but that’s dreaming instead of watched. And excusing it on he was LT n college, wasnt Kelvin Beachum too a LT in college? Beachum didnt have as many problems switching to RT as Adams. Many college left tackles started as rookies in NFL at RT on other teams each year, it’s actually very common. And they were smoother than this. Steelers initially tried Adams at his LT spot but that was a disaster, so had to chunk that idea. Gilbert played RT as a rookie, & dont recall Gilbert whiffing as often as Adams.

    I have my fingers crossed that Adams improves though & I have no reason tho think he wont improve. I need him to improve because we have other needs & really cant afford to spend a #1-2 draftpick on an OT again during the next few years.

  • SteelSpine

    Good catch, Mikey.

  • steeltown

    Agreed, we cant spend another high draft pick on the OL

    But I think Adams played well, not great, but well. If you look at the OL breakdowns he was better overall then Beachum, except for the Ravens game where he was completely overmatched and had a pretty poor game. Not taking anything away from Beachum he played well too.. and with less expectations