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Pittsburgh Steelers Must Decide on Blocking Philosophy Before Hiring New Offensive Line Coach

January 4th, 2014 at 8:22 PM
By Mark Mihalko
Now that a day has passed since the Pittsburgh Steelers fired offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr, the reasoning is still somewhat unclear. Yes, 2013 was not a perfect year for that unit, but many strides were made.
'Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers' photo (c) 2013, Erik Drost - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Looking back at some game tape, this move may have been decided the moment center Maurkice Pouncey went down to injury. While the offensive line was battered and the teams top running back was on the shelf, the decision to scrap the outside-zone scheme should have told everyone how the front office and coordinators felt about the Steelers ability to be successful behind the style.
 
Of course, using the injury to Pouncey to cover the lack of development was an easy move. However, one should think about the reality of the situation and wonder why it was such a failure. Not to mention wonder why the team decided to enter the season with zero experienced depth in the interior of the offensive line.
 
Early on, the finger was pointed directly to head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert, but the real question that has to be asked now is how much input did Bicknell have in those decisions. Did he assure everyone that there was good enough depth? That answer may never be known.
 
Now the Steelers are finished for 2013 and must find a coach to help continue the maturation process of the teams young offensive line. Of course, that is once the staff decides what style and technique they want to employ up front. That style (man or zone) will go a long way at determining what candidates would be best.  
 
With a back like Le'Veon Bell and an athletic offensive line, a zone scheme would appear to be the best but, especially considering the news the Steelers may use the no-huddle as their base offense in 2014. If that is true, one of the best, John Benton (Houston Texans) may soon be available and Tomlin should move quickly to secure his services.
 
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Tags: Football, Houston Texans, Jack Bicknell Jr, John Benton, Maurkice Pouncey, NFL, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Steelers

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