PITTSBURGH — The Steelers have started to run the ball well over the last few games, with 150 rushing yards in each of the previous four games, highlighting just how effective the team has been in those areas. But part of the reason those performances are occurring is due to some of the personnel. For example, Broderick Jones’ inclusion. But right guard James Daniels is playing the best football of his entire tenure in Pittsburgh.
He missed two games earlier this season with a groin injury. But since his return after the bye week, Daniels has allowed just four pressures in six games, with zero sacks allowed. Not bad for someone who was thought to be on shaky ground not too long ago. It’s not mystical why this is all happening. Daniels is still a very young player by age. He is in his sixth NFL season but is only 26 years old. However, the more he sees, the better his game will be, and his growth indicates that.
“I’m just older, so I’ve seen a lot more out there,” Daniels said. “Nothing really surprises me. I just see things come through slower, you know, I see blitzes, fronts, and all of that and feel like I can go out there and execute at a high level. That happens the more you play, and I feel that shows in my game.”
The Steelers had an unusual level of continuity with their offensive line last season, with all five regulars starting all 17 games. That has already been disrupted this season. But now they have had the same group of starters for four straight games, which coincides precisely when the rushing attack broke out for a massive game. Daniels has the athleticism and smarts to succeed in the multiple run scheme they use. So far, everything is going well, and Daniels has been arguably the best player on the offensive line since the bye week. Given his age, he still has more than enough productive years left in his career, and so the Steelers hope he keeps this level of play up.