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Stalwart Steelers Guard Playing at High Level in 2023



James Daniels warms up ahead of Steelers vs. Ravens on Jan. 1, 2023 in Baltimore. (Mitchell Northam / Steelers Now)
James Daniels warms up ahead of Steelers vs. Ravens on Jan. 1, 2023 in Baltimore. (Mitchell Northam / Steelers Now)

The Steelers’ offensive line has played up and down all season. For the most part, they have had more downs than ups, but against the Titans, they put together one of their most complete games of the season against a solid front. Rookie Broderick Jones impressed, but so did the rest of the offensive line. Namely, right guard James Daniels played perhaps his best game of the entire season.

Daniels allowed zero pressures while facing Jeffery Simmons and Denico Autry all night.  Given that those two players continually play at a high level, Daniels showed out massively. After missing two games with a groin injury, he has returned to playing well. Since Week 3, Daniels has allowed just three pressures against some talented defensive fronts.

What makes Daniels’ performance against the Titans so impressive is the tape that he put out. Multiple times, Daniels displaced three techniques or got to the second level and moved linebackers, which allowed runs to spring. Pittsburgh hit more explosive runs on Thursday than in any other game they had all year. Daniels’ performance and technique throughout the game were a huge reason as to why that was able to happen.

Daniels was a four-year starter in Chicago and signed with the Steelers at 24, making him the perfect mixture of youthfulness and experience. The Steelers made him the highest-paid outside free agent in the organization’s history, but with the qualities that he brought with him, it made sense. He is proving them right with that decision, and he and Isaac Seumalo make up a solid duo that the team can rely upon at guard.

Daniels was the team’s most consistent player along the offensive line in 2022.  In 2022, Pro Football Focus did not credit Daniels with a single sack allowed and recorded only three total quarterback pressures as he played a career-high 1,160 snaps. He still has yet to allow a sack in his career. But his first two weeks were the worst games he played in his entire tenure with Pittsburgh, allowing eight pressures. But six of those came in the opener. Since then, Daniels is back to his old self, and the Steelers should be happy with how their right guard is playing.