The Pittsburgh Steelers were back at it today and reportedly welcomed back one running back to the field. Veteran Larod Stephens-Howling, who sat out the game against the Washington Redskins with a minor knee injury was back in action, and should provide the team a spark with Le’Veon Bell on the sideline.NFL Insiders reported on Wednesday and he will not require surgery. Bell suffered a mid-foot sprain against the Redskins and at this point is only being ruled out for this weeks match-up against the Kansas City Chiefs. While it is unlikely that the team risks Bell, even if healthy in the final preseason game, it is not out of the realm of possibility that he could be available early in the season.
Of course, it really does not matter who is carrying the ball for the Steelers if the offensive line play does not improve. To this point of the preseason, the overall play of the entire offensive line has to be the most disappointing aspect of the team on either side of the ball. Littered with high draft choices, the line was supposed to be a strength of the offense, not a rag-tag bunch of misfits that allow journeyman defensive linemen to become Pro Bowlers.
Between drive killing penalties, an inability to pass protect, and lack of consistent push in the run game, this unit must step up. In fact, those flaws are only directed at the first team unit, as it is not worth mentioning the complete ineptitude of some of the second and third team linemen.
If the Steelers are going to bounce back from their sub par 2012 campaign, the line must play better. What makes these poor performances even worse is that the team has maybe on quality back up on the roster, which leads to zero competition. On top of that, practice time and game reps are dwindling, as the season is a mere two weeks away; thus limiting the opportunities for improvement.
With this practice week basically over, the line must do some soul searching and figure out what they need to do to perform up to their potential. At this point, regardless of the pedigree, they must start playing better, and that improved performance can start on Saturday against the Chiefs.
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