The unit that improved the most in 2013 for the Steelers was the offensive line. They helped the team overcome a 2-6 start to the season and to help them finish at 8-8. They were able to give Big Ben more time to make plays and they were able to open holes for rookie running back Le’veon Bell. The Steelers only added one lineman through the draft, Will Johnson out of Vanderbilt. He’s smart and versatile, having played every position on the offensive line. They did bring back Cody Wallace and Guy Whimper to add depth to the offensive line. However, the most important offseason move they made wasn’t a player but arguably the best offensive line coach in the league, Mike Munchak. Munchak is a Hall of Fame player turned coach, who will bring stability to a young offensive line and demand respect from the players he will be coaching. Early in the 2013 season the Steelers tried to use the zone-blocking scheme in their run game. They abandoned it after a few games because they weren’t getting the results they wanted. Munchak will bring much more experience to the zone-blocking scheme and will help them to run it successfully in 2014.
With the leadership of All Pro center Maurkice Pouncey, this young group of offensive line men will be the key to offensive success in 2014. They did make many off-season additions by adding some weapons to the offense. Signing veterans Lance Moore and Darius Heyward-Bay at wide receiver and bringing in LaGarret Blount to bolster the backfield. But the offensive line play is going to be the key to them competing for the division title. With Pouncey returning from a knee injury and a potential pro bowl guard David Decastro leading the way the Steelers could have one of the best young offensive lines in the league. Kelvin Beachum solidified the left tackle position last season and played very well for the rest of the year. Ramon Foster has manned the left guard position for a few years now. The only real position that there will be a battle for will be right tackle. Marcus Gilbert played there for most of the season last year and Mike Adams will be competing with him this year after losing his starting job at left tackle last year. Adams is a better athlete and run blocker, Gilbert does a much better job overall.
With Mike Munchak bringing some much needed experience to the position. Look for this group to improve tremendously from last year. This team, just like last year, will go as the offensive line goes. If they are able to give Ben time and open holes to the running game the Steelers will compete for the division. If for some reason they are unable to play well, it will be another long season for the Big Ben and the Pittsburgh Steelers fan base.