Although the offensive line issues the Pittsburgh Steelers are suffering from weren’t limited to Ben Roethlisberger alone, he’s the quarterback that needs to be worried the most about the continuous disappointment from that unit, which does not bode well as they enter a season without too many reasons to feel confident.
The Steelers lost for the second time in preseason, this time 13-24 to the Washington Redskins. Roethlisberger finished with 5-of-6 for 66 yards and an interception which was returned back into the endzone. The Steelers turned the ball over three times, with Jonathan Dwyer and Bruce Gradkowski fumbling the ball.
The problems came from all across the line, be it in penalties or simply allowing Redskins players easy access to their quarterbacks, with Roethlisberger getting sacked once, and Steelers QBs falling on their backs four times during the game.
The interior, and especially the side with center Maurkice Pouncey and right guard David DeCastro looked extremely vulnerable, allowing Barry Colfield to find himself close to Roethlisberger more than once, and actually force the interception that led to the touchdown in the first quarter.
The offensive line also committed four penalties, all of them stopping completed passes and a chance to move the chains. Offensive line and protecting Roethlisberger has been a bit problem for the last couple of seasons, and it doesn’t seem that in the middle of preseason that problem is anywhere near to getting fixed.
The running back issue might not be as problematic as it was like last season, even though their offensive line isn’t exactly in a position to create holes for running backs. Jonathan Dwyer came on for Le’Veon Bell who left the game with an injury (another thing to worry about), finishing the game with 68 yards and 14 carries. He was pretty much the only running back that actually got anything going during the game, as Bell finished with only 9 yards on 4 carries.
The defense seems to be doing a little bit better, with a lot of eyes turned to Jarvis Jones, the rookie out of Georgia. He spent his time on the field with the first team, playing at right outside linebacker, forcing a fumble that ended up getting picked up by Ike Taylor. Overall the Steelers forced four turnovers in the game.
Another Jones that is interesting a lot of people is another rookie, Landry Jones, the former Oklahoma quarterback got a chance to play a lot of football, finishing with 9-of-22 for 111 yards and a touchdown. At the moment, he’d be the most likely player to end up as the team’s quarterback of the future, but he’s clearly far from ready, and it’s going to take some time before Roethlisberger is going to clear the starting spot.
However, considering all of the punishment Big Ben has been taking for the last few seasons due to the leaky offensive line, there’s a good chance Jones will get his chance to start behind center sooner than expected, which spells another disappointing season for the Steelers, who don’t look like a team complete enough to compete in the very tough AFC North with the offensive line playing this badly.