I know the preseason generally means nothing, especially for consistently good teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, after the first week of the preseason, I would be a little nervous if I am a Steeler fan. Why, because that offensive line is just plain bad.
The Pittsburgh Steelers used two early picks to draft offensive linemen David DeCastro (#24; 1st round) and Mike Adams (#56; 2nd round) in order to keep Ben Roethlisberger upright for the upcoming season. Well, after watching the first preseason game, the Steelers may want to clean up a few things, especially the offensive line because they were dominated in their game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The play was sloppy and Big Ben was not protected well at all. Was this just first game jitters or something more? And was this game a precursor to the season?
I thought the David DeCastro selection was an excellent choice as he did a fine job of protecting Andrew Luck at Stanford. With great surprise to me, against the Eagles, DeCastro did not hold up as well as expected and was pushed around. As for Mike Adams, I thought he was a reach in the second round and felt he would not do a good job of protecting Roethlisberger as Adams always struggled against speed rushers and those with brute strength. As a Ohio State Buckeyes fan, I watched Mike Adams get beat like a drum every week. If he was not getting beat, he was holding or had a false start that would stop a drive. Depending on which stats you read, Adams gave up between 1.5 to 3.5 sacks in the game to the Eagles.
Many will say, it is just the first preseason game, aren’t you overreacting ? I don’t believe so. I think that DeCastro will solidify his spot on the line and progress as appropriate. As a guard, he will provide a strong inside presence and will help the Steelers running game. In time, I think he will become an above average pass protector as well. However, Adams is going to be a liability. Again, he struggles with speed and brute strength. Go back to the tapes in college and watch as he gave up a number of big plays. I also did not find him to be a great run blocker. So, if I am the Steelers, I would be sure not to leave Mike Adams on an island. If that occurs, I have a feeling that Ben Roethlisberger is going to be running for his life all year-long.