Updated: May 30
(Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Steelers' fourth-round pick Dan Moore Jr. recently had a one-on-one interview with Missi Matthews of Steelers.com to talk about his transition from Texas A&M to Pittsburgh and one of the topics that he addressed was changing the outlook of the offensive line.
"I think last year we were looked at as the weak link of the team," Moore said. "And obviously the mindset that we have to have this year is that we want to be one of the best units on this team. We want to lead this team and specifically this offense. So, this team is going to go as far as we go."
Steelers offensive tackle Zach Banner also is aware of the negative things being said about the offensive line, as many national pundits think they are the weakness of the Steelers team.
“Come on, man. A lot of people want to say a lot of bad things about us right now, and that’s OK," Banner said via Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "But at the same time, a couple years ago, we were known as the best offensive line in the league.”
It's new offensive line coach Adrian Klemm's job to change the viewpoint of the offensive line, as they were known to be not efficient in run blocking last year, which played a big part in the Steelers ranking dead last in rushing yards per game (84.4) and yards per carry (3.6) last season. Klemm has an aggressive coaching philosophy and has talked all offseason about how he wants his offensive line to be maulers upfront.
“It’s a culture that was recruited and put together by ‘Coach T’ this offseason, and it really shows,” Banner said. “In saying that ‘thug mentality,’ the last thing I want people to think is we’re walking around Pittsburgh beating people up or doing dumb stuff. But at the same time, what else would you want as an offensive line unit? That’s my question. You’ve got to come off the ball and kill people, and that’s the type of mentality we need to have.”
The Steelers completed their first week of OTA practices on Thursday and one of the key points that were addressed was the aggressive coaching philosophy that Klemm brings to the table.
"I feel like there is a little more intensity, Steelers guard Kevin Dotson said of Klemm. "There is more aggression even the way we come off the blocks. Even the verbiage he uses in meetings is way more aggressive. Not just saying 'get the blocks,' but 'run through his face.' He is using more aggressive terms and I feel like that pushes our mindset in that way."
Klemm has talked about becoming more physical on the offensive line throughout the offseason, which fits Dotson and Banner perfectly, as they are both road graders.
"I want to be more of that aggressive guy. I am kind of aggressive already. I want to be that guy that they just know he is going to do extra; you better make sure you are ready for this game type of guy for the defensive line," Dotson said. "I am trying to improve upon that. I want to be conditioned enough to be able to go the whole game, going 100 percent."