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Steelers Hope T Mike Adams Gets It \”Right\” In 2013


By Matthew Marczi

As with the other two new starters along the offensive line for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mike Adams already has playing experience. Unlike Marcus Gilbert, however, he will not have to move to a new position—that is, unless, he somehow wins the left tackle job, which seems rather unlikely.

The skill set that he displayed from a season ago, though, strongly dictates that he fits best as a right tackle in the Steelers’ scheme, which favors running toward the right side. Adams’ run blocking was miles ahead of his pass protection in 2012, so much so that he garnered quite a bit of attention for his performance in that area.

Pro Football Focus in particular was complimentary of his run blocking ability, naming him to the site’s ‘Team of the Week’ for Week 7 in 2012, which was just his first career start. The following week, on the site’s recap of the Steelers’ Week 8 victory over the Washington Redskins, Adams was highlighted once again, along with Ramon Foster. PFF writes that the pair gave up just a single hurry between them on 72 combined pass rushing attempts “while adding strong work in the running game”.

If you will recall, the Steelers rushed for 140 yards on that day on 5.2 yards per carry. Jonathan Dwyer totaled 107 yards on just 17 carries, while Chris Rainey added another 26 yards on four carries.

In fact, the Redskins game marked the middle of an exceptional three-game stretch that saw the Steelers average 155 rushing yards per game—which just so happened to coincide with the first three starts in the career of Mike Adams. The week prior, Dwyer ran for 122 yards on his own, and the week following the Redskins came, Isaac Redman ran for 147 yards.

During the rest of his six starts, however, the Steelers had their struggles rushing. Which is not surprising, because these three games also coincided with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s injury, which derailed the entire offense.

Between Weeks 10 and 12, the Steelers averaged about 112 yards per game on the ground. In addition, they managed just 3.75 yards per rush. Of course, all of the blame for this certainly cannot be placed on Adams, who remained strong in his run blocking and displayed an ability to get to the second level on blocks. His pass protection, however, was another matter.

Despite PFF’s praise of his run blocking, the site was not nearly as charitable on his pass protection. It is no secret, of course, that Adams had his struggles in this area. But his 25 pressures allowed in 280 snaps was good for the 11th worst pass blocking efficiency rating as of the time that he was injured, with a rating of 92.7.

In three of his eight games of significant playing time, Adams allowed more than one sack; that includes Week 1 against the Denver Broncos, in which he and Doug Legursky each were credited with giving up 1.5 sacks, the half being one for which they split the blame.

It was also his responsibility, Justin Houston in the Kansas City Chiefs game, that ultimately received the credit for the sack that injured Roethlisberger, although the scramble that ensued would make it difficult to place singular blame on one player in that instance.

One game in particular, the Week 11 contest against the Baltimore Ravens, was especially egregious, as he was routinely beaten by Paul Kruger to the tune of two sacks, two hits, and eight quarterback pressures.

There is no question that Adams has some major areas of improvement to work on. Though his run blocking has been talked about, he has a habit of not playing through the whistle, which results in his man getting in on the tackle by the end of the play. In pass protection, he was very inconsistent from a technical standpoint. He needs to keep rushers out of his chest plate and not overcommit to edge rushers, who are able to use his momentum against him to push him aside and take the inside.

There were times during his rookie season where Mike Adams appeared to be in over his head, not ready to face the challenges that come with playing at the highest level. Hopefully, however, the starting experience that he accrued as a rookie will prove invaluable to him taking the next step in his second year. He and the rest of the offensive line reportedly put in some serious hours in the weight room this offseason, so he should at least be physically stronger than a year ago. Perhaps his late night incident last month will help make him mentally stronger as well.

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About Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • steves

    Adams has a knack for giving “LOOK OUT” blocks, which will not do it in the NFL. He better watch or he will be BOOO’ed out of the stadium if this keeps up. Our fans watch players and know when they are dogging it. Adams lobbied for the job with the Steelers and to keep it he must get better in pass blocking.

  • Paul

    A big part of the line’s problems left for El Paso, I hope the new line coach knows what he’s doing.

  • VaDave

    Steves,
    When I saw his college highlight clips, I was astounded just how bad he was in pass protection, and knew this was going to be an issue for him at this level. That said, he’s got the tools, the attitude, and work ethic and I look for continued improvement in this area. If not, we always can plug in Whimper if that make anybody feel any better…lol….

  • steves

    Coach know’s what he doing and will not accept this out of Adams. If he don’t get his shit together his big fat ass can warm the bench for the starters.

  • steves

    Wimpy aint gonna cut it. We don’t give burger today for pay in the future – nope – no way Hosay! If they were highlight clips I would hate to see the “Bloopers of Adams”!!! Probably needs some Weed to get Adams Gouches Going.

  • Paul

    You sound like an expert jerk

  • Jazz

    If the Offensive Line Fails again this year, it’s time to point the blame solely on Mike Tomlin and his staff. Kevin Colbert doesn’t get a pass either; this S!#T is ridiculous! How many more years do we have to look at this Crap? And before all you Cowher fans jump on the Bandwagon, lets not forget the weak O/Lines he had towards the tail end of his career as well. The current group may be young, but as a corps, they are pathetic. Pouncey? He’s good, but he too is a little over-rated as well. Gilbert? What the Hell did they see in his weak A$$ coming out of Florida? How many times have we seen this guy constantly get pushed backed N2 the backfield? I hope they get it right in 2013, if not, we are looking at another 8-8, 7-9, or even 6-10 season. Hey Colbert, Tomlin! Can You Please Draft Some O/Linemen That Can Pass Protect As Well As Run Block? Ever heard of Versatility? Oh Yeah!

  • VaDave

    Jazz, Last year was a disaster of injury after injury. When you have a lineman forced to play three different positions in one game due to injuries, and he was a scrub to boot, you can’t lay all the blame on the FO and coaching staff.
    An Oline needs to work as a unit, not as 5 individuals. When a guy goes down, or is a late scratch for two games like Colon did, it’s a huge problem and should not be discounted. If you go back and take a good look at when and where these injuries occurred last year, you will see a corresponding drop in rushing yards, over all offensive efficiency, scoring, to go along with a rise in sacks.

  • SteelerFanInMD

    The O-Line injuries seem to come every year. I wonder if other teams have as many as the Steelers. What is the league norm? Are the Steelers extremely unlucky in this area or did their schemes increase the likelihood of injuries?

  • cencalsteeler

    It was obvious to us all the oline suffered from a lot of injuries last year. I think the style of play had a lot to do with it, hence the hiring of Bicknell. I believe our run game was too predictable and defenses had the “momentum” advantage, getting off their blocks quicker and pushing our lineman backwards causing injury. Heck, even the Raiders said they could read in advance what the offense was going to do. Hopefully, this changes in 13.

  • VaDave

    I agree with the predictability issue, but that goes back much further than 2012. As for the amount of injuries, Green Bay had more in 2010 and won a Superbowl. I’m not so sure it was the amount injuries that was the fatal flaw, or if timing of those injuries was more of a cause.
    Colon alone screwed up 3 games, two late scratches, and then finally going down for the count. Legurski last year was about as useful as a clump of farts at either G or C positions. Needless to say, IMO ( for all that’s worth) all of the shuffling around on the OL the last 6 weeks of the season, plus Ben going down was more the reason for 8-8 than anything else.

  • dgh57

    You can live in the past all you want to but myself I prefer to live in the here & now and look to the future! I also like to think positive and in doing so I see improvements in the o-line this season. A new o-line Coach implementing this new ZBS will do wonders for our o-line, especially the ones it’s best suited for and that’s Pouncey & DeCastro!

    For the “living in the past” side of you a lot of the problems with the o-line last year was injuries, o-line playing musical chairs, and finally using mostly the power running scheme which apparently doesn’t fit our o-linemens skill set and thus the problems you mention with Gilbert!

  • dgh57

    Not 100% positive on this but I think there were only two teams that played without any lost time to their o-linemen due to injuries last year. Falcons and 49ers. This new ZBS should help cut down the injuries as our o-linmen will be more on the move but only time will tell with that.

  • cencalsteeler

    Nice post. I agree with everything you say. I am so excited to see what this line can do this year, for I feel they will determine how far we go this year. I do have to admit, I am a little nervous hoping they take to everything Bicknell puts into place. It seems in the NFL that it takes two seasons for players to pick up new schemes. I was excited that Haley was coming in last year to give our offense the needed spark it was lacking. Unfortunately, I was wearing rose colored glasses and expected the offense to flourish without any problems. Hopefully, the line along with the new scheme, brings many large holes to open up for our rbs, and buys all the time in the world for Ben.

  • dgh57

    I’m was a little bit nervous in installing this new ZBS but then I got to thinking that Gilbert, Pouncey, and DeCastro played in that scheme in College. Not sure if Adams has or not. Foster is the only one that worries me in that he’s not as mobile as I’d like but I’ve heard he’s lost weight so maybe he’s taking this move to the ZBS seriously. Add Bell and Haley’s short passing game in the mix and Big Ben should have more time to throw the ball!

  • Trey Brooks

    In the end I think the kid will be our best lineman. Maybe even our starting left tackle. I don’t trust gilbert. He’s the reason david Johnson and DeCastro missed time with knee injuries.

  • walter mason

    I was astounded myself after watching his college tapes. He looked bad in pass protection and played lazy. But Im not qualified to judge and Im a big fan and supporter of Adams moving forward.

  • walter mason

    Oh no dont say that! (about weed) He may get in more trouble looking to cop.

  • JC

    The whole offensive line has to “get it right”. They’re a young line with a lot of high draft picks. In my opinion, the key to their success is simply staying healthy and building continuity.

  • charles

    Playing the Ravens increases our chance of Oline injury. That goes for anybody who plays the 49ers as well. Anybody see a pattern?

  • charles

    It was the Raiders, Cowboys and Broncos. With Denver and the Cowboys turning it directly onto Haley. Haley has to do a better job of play prep and play calling. It is a game of giants, but the twelfth man is the coach and hopefully he plays aggressively. The play calling can get the defense on their heels and then everything works better.

  • charles

    Many of Adams problems start with pot. Sweed and Wallace had those issues as well. I have no faith in Adams, but heres hoping he makes me eat crow.

  • charles

    Personally I am not sold on Pouncey either. It is probable that he was better than Hartwig or Legurski though.

  • charles

    Your mostly right on. One question is why are all our main backs power runners as well our draft starter Bell. In other words, we have a blocking scheme which uses quickness, agility, and athleticism, but our main backs are all power runners. What is your opinion, will the ZBS help our line or will it help our backs? It seems the ZBS is built for backs who can reach full speed quickly, for backs who can accelerate. We let the back that fit this role go although Mendenhall had other issues as we all know.

  • Trey Brooks

    remember we won a superbowl with a weak o-line. So relax bud!

  • Matthew Marczi

    Arian Foster does pretty well for himself in a zone blocking scheme.

  • dgh57

    I believe the ZBS is meant to help the o-line first with their blocking assignments and cut down on the communication needed between o-linemen, then helps our backs.

    Yes, we have a bunch of power backs, but do we really? Here is a theory to contemplate. If Arian Foster had been running behind a power running scheme would we know him to be the RB we know today? Listed at 6’1″ 228 one would think we have a power RB here. Yet he thrives and is the Texans feature back because he has learned to adapt his skills to the ZBS! Our RBs will have to do the same as reportedly Redman has already lost some weight which should help him with his burst & quickness. I believe Bell also played in the ZBS at MSU and he put up some great #s last season. Hopefully, the preseason will work out all the wrinkles and all will be working smoothly by week #1.

  • sgtrobo

    ironic that the lineman that is probably in the best shape on our offensive line is the one you call ‘big fat ass’. The guy was a rookie who got moved from the left side, where he played his entire life, to the right side, where he had never played. I cannot fathom how the hell the coaching staff would steadfastly refuse to move DeCastro from the right side to the left side, which is FAR easier for an OG, yet still move Adams from the left side to the right side and not expect him to have issues in pass pro. If you’ve ever watched offensive line play, watch Adams’ feet. He’s ass-backwards. Perhaps it’s because he’s on the WRONG DAMN SIDE. Of course he gets his feet backwards.

  • sgtrobo

    Adams started and played fully in 5 games (Cinci, Redskins, NYG, KC, and Ravens), and we ran for 167, 140, 158, 95, and 134 in those games. He didn’t start 9 games, or perhaps I msiread something

  • sgtrobo

    so Wallace and Sweed were potheads, eh? I never heard of that from either of them. You have any proof?

    Also, while we’re at it, somebody remind me how Max Starks looked on the right side of the offensive line? I seem to recall him losing his starting job to Willie Colon, and then voila, he gets moved to the left side where he belongs, and he’s been one of our most dependable linemen the last 2 seasons. Funny how that works.

  • joed32

    Probably?

  • steeltown

    We almost won that SB with a crazy makeshift OLine ourselves, Kemo, Jonathan Scott, Flozell Adams and Legursky were all penciled starters in SB XLV

    IMO last year was a combination of Ben being injured mid-season, a terrible turnover ratio and an awful running game

  • steeltown

    Arian Foster and Houston have a scary running attack

    But regardless Le’veon is faster than people give him credit for and he’s a little shifty

  • steeltown

    Pouncey…overrated? …..come on guys

  • VaDave

    Denver was one week removed from DeCastro’s injury, and Dallas, was DeCastro first game back, not good. We also had issues at RT and LG is with Dallas . Raiders it wasn’t the O to blame, it was the D, specifically Ryan Mundy who could be called the culprit of three TDs scored by Oakland.

  • steves

    Bicknell was hired because Sean Kugler went on to be the head coach of UT-El Paso.

  • SteelSpine

    Rookie Beachum outplayed Adams at right tackle when he replaced Adams, & Beachum did not play right tackle in college, Beachum was left tackle in college. Beachum played at a smaller college & didn’t even cost us a high draft pick. Many college left tackles play right tackle in NFL especially their rookie season.

    The only thing anyone has for Adams is running stats when he was on the field but that’s a team thing, not one position on O-line. Adams was turnstyle on passblocking attempts, & passblocking is kinda important for OTackle. Of course he was a rook so I definitely give him a pass thusfar, & I assume Adams will learn to pass block well. But until a guy shows he can passblock for NFL, a wrong thing to do would be play a turnstyle at friggen LEFT OTackle (other than in preseason to learn OT when QB is not a franchise QB). Protecting a franchise QB’s blind side is way too important to screw with left OTackle.

  • walter mason

    …and Pouncey

  • cencalsteeler

    JMO, but I think there was more to the hiring of Bicknell, jr. than just the fact Kugler went to UTEP.

  • SteelersDepot

    Me thinks charles is trolling.

  • charles

    The others won’t like this too much. I think it was two years ago that we played the Texans. It truly was the worst beating the Steelers took that I had seen in a long time. Not sure, but it might have been the first 100yd game by a running back against us in a long time. The stat I do not care about , what was bad about that game was the beating the texans gave us on both lines of xcrimmage. One could argue that Tom Brady could have gotten a thousand yards behind that Oline.I do hear what you are saying, Morris and Lynch are good examples of big backs who do well with this scheme. However if you have seen Jamaal Charles run behind that kind of blocking then you can easily see that this type of back becomes Explosive and is a threat to score from anywhere on the field.

  • charles

    Go get yourself some primo bud, smoke a joint and then watch how many more catches you drop when you go outside and toss the ball

  • charles

    I have been a steeler fan longer than you have been alive. I don’t know what you mean by trolling, but I have seen you use it before and not in a neccesarily good way. I try to talk about football not the commenter. If it is that on your site one can never be negative or scared to critique let me know.

  • charles

    Mundy showed us all in that game that he is not pro caliber. The Dallas and Denver games were both interceptions that that were late in the game and in both cases the cornerback sat and waited on the the throw and then jumped the ball. The Dallas cornerback had played for KC the year before and specifically stated he had a fairly good idea how Haley would attack.

  • VaDave

    Actually, he’s had some good posts, and the dialog has been civil. We may not agree on a few things, but it’s pretty obvious he knows his Steeler Football.

  • sgtrobo

    well, never said that weed didn’t hinder an athlete’s ability to produce. My point was specifically regarding Sweed and Wallace. You said that Sweed and Wallace “had those issues as well”, after stating many of Adams’ problems start with pot. Now, I don’t disagree regarding Adams. I merely wanted to hear you back up the statement about Sweed and Wallace. Do you think that Sweed and Wallace were using pot? Yes or no, please.

  • charles

    I have to eat a little crow here because I was a big supporter of Sweed and seriously disappointed when he dropped the ball. Pun intended. As for any police reports or other proof I don’t have any. It is just recognition of my own past. I would offer another example: The super Bowl vs Arizona, Ben throws the ball to Santonio, I think that it was first down, and it was to the left side of the end zone as we were facing it. Holmes dropped it. On the next play it seemed like Ben looked everywhere except in Holmes direction, and maybe it was Ben’s third read before he finally went to Holmes.We all know how that worked out.
    Oh, and by the way, yes.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I’m not sure if you’re missing this, but sgtrobo’s point is that you suggest that Wallace and Sweed’s issues are drug related, but as far as I know, there has never been any evidence of this. Here is what you said:

    “Many of Adams problems start with pot. Sweed and Wallace had those issues as well.”

    Maybe you didn’t mean to say that Sweed and Wallace are pot heads, but it does come off that way. But if that *is* what you meant to say, you should probably have some kind of evidence to support your claim, because otherwise that’s kind of, like, character defamation.

  • sgtrobo

    that’s absolutely ridiculous. Beachum in no way, shape or form outplayed Adams. Beachum got so much protection from the TE, the RB, and the RG it’s almost laughable, and he produced nothing in the running game.

  • sgtrobo

    Ok, so you think they were using, based on you being a space cadet when you were stoned? Ok. You can understand why your assertion is a bit tough to accept, considering neither Wallace nor Sweed were known to be drug users of any type. Not everyone smokes, charles. I also was a big supporter of Sweed but he seemed mentally fragile and I think that caused his downfall because his hands certainly weren’t woeful in college.

  • sgtrobo

    yes, thank you.

  • charles

    Matthew I am merely trying to explain seemingly senselesly dropped passes by these receivers and in Sweeds case with nobody around , right in his hands, and for an easy walk in the end zone ball. You should read some of last years posts about Wallace’s multiply dropped balls, then you would see that my critique is very gentle and on the lighter side.

  • charles

    The issue is not me. It is easy passes being dropped by paid professionals that 65, 000 fans paid good money to see. If that happened at a Cirque de Soleil show there would be a lot of casualties and nobody would go to see the show. If it happened at a Joe Satriani concert would you pay for it?

  • Matthew Marczi

    I’m going to assume you’re being facetious with the insinuation that dropped passes are a result of marijuana usage. In this instance, you are the one who put the “weed” in Sweed. ;)

  • SteelSpine

    sgtrobo you must not have watched Beachum at all when Beach was at RT, that 1 post of yours is opposite of the truth. I focused on watching Beachum because when it was announced he would move to starting RT (due to injuries) I had assumed Beach would be bad because in preseason was bad. Beach shocked me & most fans by playing with drastic improvement over his own preseason. The reason I remember it well is I was shocked that on passblocking at RT, he kept a wide base & punched out like a pro & I was surprised no blocker teammates looked his way so I assumed it was some veteran, I had to do a double-take, checked & it was Beachum. Too bad you didn’t watch any of Beachum at RT.

  • charles

    So by inference you think that Adams was just hanging out at 3:AM in South Pittsburgh. And you are welccome to your opinion. Mine differs.

  • Matthew Marczi

    All I know is that I’ve dropped my fair share of passes, and I’ve never done drugs in my life, so I know for a fact that you can’t assume that dropped passes equal smoking pot.

  • sgtrobo

    yeah, on a few occasions he did well. He got abused by Baltimore, by the Bolts, and by Dallas, and he offered nothing in the running game. But nothing wrong with being an optimist I suppose.

  • Jazz

    I agree 100%; I’m not saying the O/L should never have injuries, but C’mon Man! We see this year after year, after year. Gilbert? Just watch the games, his lack of power has absolutely nothing to do with injuries, he is just weak!

  • Jazz

    I’m so not living in the past, I’m looking towards the future, and I hope the future is a bright one too. I’m clearly stating the facts; go back 5 or 6 years, take a look at all the injuries this team has had. Even Mr. Rooney had the O/L go through some Psychological Training last month due to the amount of injuries the O/L has dealt with in recent years. Now, if the owner and President can clearly see the team has an issue, my point is well taken.

  • Dan

    Maurkice Pouncey is one of only three consistently good players the Steelers have had on offense in the last five seasons. (The other two are Ben Roethlisberger and Heath Miller.)

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