Ben Roethlisberger says the Steelers' O-line was 'moving guys off the ball' in Cleveland
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The Steelers' young offensive line really struggled early on in the season, but they've been slowly building chemistry and have been improving every week. During the three-game winning streak, the Steelers have rushed over 100 yards in each game.
Adrian Klemm has done a really good job of getting the offensive line to pick up their performance. Coming into this season, the Steelers had just one returning starter on the offensive line, so growing pains were expected with this unit. However, through seven games, it appears that they've figured things out.
"I think we're understanding each other," Ben Roethlisberger said. "We're understanding the offense. Having the same group of guys in front for a while now and knowing each other. They're taking pride. Watching that game again, they're moving guys off the ball. You look at Myles' (Garrett) sack and the other one where he got pressure, it was strictly him getting a jump. He timed it perfectly. It's a lot to ask a young tackle, any tackle to be able to stop a guy that's that good. Going back and watching what they did, it's amazing. I was proud of the way they're playing."
Former offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz posted a clip on Twitter of Dan Moore Jr. pancaking Browns' defensive tackle Malik McDowell on a combo block and working to the second level. Due to Moore's block, Najee Harris was able to pick up first down yardage on the play.
Harris finished the game with 91 yards rushing on 26 carries (3.5 average) and a touchdown. In addition, All-Pro defensive end, Myles Garrett, sacked Roethlisberger just once and didn't take over the game. Which is a real credit to Moore, who was left on an island at times against Garrett. Overall, the Browns sacked Roethlisberger just twice.
"I would think it would continue to increase his confidence," Roethlisberger said of Moore's performance against Garrett. "I think he still takes pride in the sack and then maybe thinking, 'Oh shoot, I wish I would have done this, or I wish I could have even been better.' And I think I think that's awesome to see a young guy who went against one of the best in the business to still be disappointed with the way he played."
The only veteran on the offensive line is five-time Pro Bowler Trai Turner. Moore and Kendrick Green are rookies, while Kevin Dotson is in just his second year. Chuks Okorafor is in his fourth season. So, it's a really young group.
"I think the fact they've done it in such a short time against some really good defenders," Roethlisberger said. "I don't want to say there's not a leader, but it's there's not like your (Maurkice) Pouncey, Ramon (Foster), (David) DeCastro, Al (Villanueva). Guys that have been there. That staple.
"You look at where it is, it's either rookies, new guys that have come in, Chuks (Okorafor), Banner, are the only guys that have been here, and Zach's been hurt. For them to see their cohesion, to see the way they work together without that kind of one guy that's like a follow me kind of guy. I just think they're having fun and they're learning about each other at a really fast rate. It's shown itself and manifested on the field."
Roethlisberger is spot-on in his assessment that the O-line was "moving guys off the ball" in Cleveland. It wasn't only in the running game, however. Watch Trai Turner toss Jordan Elliott here while in pass protection.
And wow, the progression of Green's development has been something else.
He's still learning. He's still growing. I'm not sure how many games he's played at center in his life, but it's not very many. I'm just proud of him, "Roethlisberger said of Green. "I told him that after the game that night, sent him a text of just how proud I was of his play, and just keep doing it."