(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Ben Roethlisberger attempted 608 passes last year, which was the third-most in the league, and the Steelers had no running game, finishing dead last in the NFL. They were a one-dimensional offense and that led the offensive line to be more passive and not physical enough.
They were often in a two-point stance and not firing off the ball and imposing their will on defenses. That's all changing under new offensive line coach Adrian Klemm, however, as he's now requiring three-point stances for all his offensive linemen.
"This year we have to kind of go downfield," Chuks Okorafor said last week at OTAs via Mike Prisuta of Steelers.com. "Last year we'd shuffle and we'd kind of hold people. Now, it's like 'attack, attack, attack.' If it's inside zone, outside zone, gap scheme; it doesn't really matter what the play is, we have to go.
"We'll see how it plays out. It's gonna be a good year, for sure."
Along with having three new starters on the offensive line in 2021, Okorafor is projected to make the switch from right tackle to left tackle this year. It's a big transition for the fourth-year tackle out of Western Michigan, as he'll now have the responsibility of protecting Ben Roethlisberger's blindside. Okorafor says he's up for the challenge, however.
“I don’t think there is any more pressure playing left tackle, left guard or center,” Okorafor said via Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “It’s still protecting Ben. And it’s blocking for Benny [Snell] or Najee [Harris] or whoever is running the ball. So whether it’s left side or right side, it’s just having to block well.”
Okorafor will have to play much better at left tackle this season than what he displayed on the right side last year, as he struggled in both pass and run blocking. According to Pro Football Focus, of the 79 tackles that they graded last year, Okorafor ranked 70th.
He'll also have to be a lot more physical, especially when it comes to run blocking.
"I've always thought that Chuks was such a talented individual," Klemm told the media yesterday after the Steelers wrapped up their three-day mandatory minicamp. "He is so athletic. The one thing you want to see is for him to be a little more physical. He's a natural left tackle that had to adjust to playing on the right. The thing I've seen so far is that there are things he can improve on, but he's been up for the challenge."