By Jeremy Hritz
What are the chances that your starting right tackle gets stabbed in the early morning trying to stop a group of individuals from stealing his truck? As was reported Saturday morning, second year player Mike Adams was stabbed in the stomach in Pittsburgh’s South Side. Thankfully, it has been reported that Adams has been treated and will be OK. With the rash of injuries that plagued the Steelers offensive line in 2012, and after the incident Saturday morning, one has to wonder if the unit is cursed.
This past season for the Steelers offensive line was a challenging one, with injuries to multiple players. Adams, who is expected to be ready for training camp following the stabbing, experienced knee and ankle injuries and missed significant time. Marcus Gilbert injured his ankle and was lost for the season. Maurkice Pouncey injured his MCL, and then-rookie David DeCastro suffered what appeared to be a season-ending knee injury in a pre-season game against the Buffalo Bills. The result of the constant injuries was a lack of consistency and continuity that severely hampered any semblance of an effective running attack, not to mention quality pass protection.
Injuries to the offensive line and the shuffling of starters is nothing new in Pittsburgh, as injuries to Pouncey, former Steelers Willie Colon and Max Starks have detrimentally affected the team in previous years. Moving forward into the 2013 season, the Steelers are hoping such bad luck is behind them at the position.
With arguably the best center in pro football, bolstered by young and promising linemen in Adams, Gilbert, and DeCastro, in addition to the reliable and consistent Ramon Foster, the Steelers are fully expecting for the line play to be tremendously improved in 2013. For too many seasons, the running game, while it was responsible for some production, it did not establish any consistency. And as far as the pass protection goes, as much as Ben Roethlisberger’s maverick style of plays results in hits and sacks, the blocking was just as much at fault. The overall result was unevenness and an inability of the Steelers to impose their will on defenses.
With a young and talented new prospect at running back in Le’Veon Bell, a capable runner is in place to drive the running game, but the offensive line must demonstrate that they can stay healthy and be a steady unit. If they can, the positive impact that it will have on Roethlisberger’s play and the passing game is immeasurable.
But can they escape the bad luck?
Hopefully, Saturday’s unfortunate incident involving Adams is not a portent of things to come this season. If anything, Adams is positive following his near-tragic situation. On Twitter, Adams said, “I had an angel looking out for me! I’ll be ok just gotta fight to get back harder then ever.”
Keep the thoughts positive for Adams in his recovery, as he is a critical element of the Steelers success this season.