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Steelers Analysis

Steelers Starting OL Shines in Preseason



Steelers Friday Night Lights
Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line during Friday Night Lights practice at Latrobe Memorial Stadium, Aug. 4, 2023 -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Steelers’ offensive line is one of the places they expect to improve the most in 2023. With the addition of Isaac Seumalo to the starting lineup, Pittsburgh should have a better run-blocking unit while still upholding their pass-protection side of the agreement. Now, Week 1 will bring plenty of challenges in the fashion of Arik Armstead, Javon Hargrave, and maybe Nick Bosa.

Regardless, the preseason was seamless for the offense. The offensive line falls into that category, too. Just how good did Pittsburgh’s offensive line look? Well, in pass protection, they were virtually flawless. The interior of the offensive line did not allow a single pressure. While Chuks Okorafor allowed two and Dan Moore Jr. allowed one. The pressure rate came in at just 20 percent on Kenny Pickett’s dropbacks. That is drastically lower than the pressure rate from last year, which was up over 30 percent. Given the small sample size, if the unit plays to its level this season, it likely falls somewhere between those two numbers. Here is a look at how the offensive line did by the numbers in the preseason.

Dan Moore: 1 pressure allowed, 17 pass-blocking snaps

Isaac Seumalo: 0 pressures allowed, 15 pass-blocking snaps

Mason Cole: 0 pressures allowed, 15 pass-blocking snaps

James Daniels: 0 pressures allowed, 11 pass-blocking snaps

Chuks Okorafor: 2 pressures allowed, 15 pass-blocking snaps

Those numbers are courtesy of Pro Football Focus, and they showcase just how good the Steelers were in that facet of the game. Meanwhile, the running game had plenty of upside to it, as well. Jaylen Warren’s 62-yard touchdown is about as well as you will ever see outside zone blocked up. Warren and Najee Harris had plenty of lanes to run through on the ground. It seemed like the offensive line fired on all cylinders.

Pittsburgh will get a great test in Week 1 to prove just how real they are in both facets. The defensive line and linebackers for San Francisco are talented, and if Bosa is there, they will be facing one of the premier pass rushers in the league. Those stats and the tape are small sample sizes, so it must be confirmed in the regular season. But it is hard not to think Pittsburgh has a league-average offensive line.

The ceiling is higher than that, but even saying that after the past two years of offensive line is something to celebrate for the Steelers front office. Omar Khan and Mike Tomlin must be happy about how the unit performed and the depth they’ve accused throughout the offseason at the position. Now, it’s time to prove it on the football field.

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