Updated: Dec 24, 2020
(Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)
Yesterday before Monday night's game between the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns, ESPN analyst Booger McFarland during a segment was talking about the Steelers' offensive line and said flat out they're "soft."
"Everybody is talking about they can't run the football, they can't do this. Here's the biggest problem in Pittsburgh, the guys on defense are hurt, but from an offensive standpoint, the offensive line has been playing terrible, they are soft," McFarland said.
The Steelers rushed for 47 yards on 17 attempts (2.8 average) in their 26-15 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday night. The Steelers have rushed for 48 yards or fewer in five of their last seven games and are currently ranked 31st in the league in rushing yards per game (89.1) and are tied for second to last in yards per attempt (3.7).
"People talk about running the football, you can't run the football if you get no movement," McFarland said. "You watch the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line play, they're in two-point stances, they're backpedaling ... nobody's coming off hitting anyone in the mouth. You want to run the football in this league your offensive lineman have to hit the other front seven in the mouth. Pittsburgh is not doing that."
McFarland said the Steelers have become predictable with their one-dimensional pass-happy offense and are relying on Ben Roethlisberger too much.
"So now we all want to put it on Big Ben," McFarland said. "Yes, Big Ben is old, he is no older than Tom Brady. OK, Tom Brady is older. So let's not talk about Big Ben's age. Let's just talk about what it is. Their offensive line is soft. They can't run the football, and so now you're asking a 38-year-old quarterback with a surgically repaired elbow can you throw it 50 times a game, and can we win every game that way, no! These defenses in the NFL are too good. If I know what you're doing, I don't care who you are, I don't care if you're the Kansas City Chiefs, if I know you're throwing it ever down I can stop it."
Steelers' center Maurkice Pouncey responded to McFarland's comment about the offensive line being "soft" on Instagram this morning saying, "Booger these quotes are the same reason why you are not on Monday Night Football anymore." McFarland was a color analyst on MNF for two years (2018-2019) before he was reassigned by ESPN in May of 2020 due to criticism from viewers. McFarland often has some head-scratching comments, but he might have a point with his assessment of the Steelers' offensive line.
Hopefully, Pouncey and the rest of the offensive line use McFarland's harsh words as extra motivation to start blocking better in the run game department. Nevertheless, they are just not getting the job done upfront right now.