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Zach Banner Believes Changes in Mentality Key For Steelers’ Offensive Line Success



PITTSBURGH —  “Necessary violence.”

That is the exact culture and mindset that new Steelers offensive line coach Adrian Klemm is trying to foster. And one of the possible leaders in the offensive line room in Zach Banner is trying to see Klemm’s vision through.

The Steelers presumed starting right tackle at the moment took the practice field Thursday after being out since tearing his ACL in the Steelers’ Week 1 matchup against the Giants. With Klemm now at the helm, Banner and the offensive line is looking to overhaul their style of play. However, Banner believes it all starts with the respect everyone has for Klemm.

“His mentality is not only to get better every single day, but to work on the details and hold each other accountable,” Banner said. “It sometimes doesn’t look pretty, but we need that … when you put it into the type of respect level we have for him, we don’t have those big heads in this room.”

Banner also believes that the symbiotic relationship between Klemm and the offensive line will help foster a community among the linemen.

“Everybody in this room wants to be coached,” Banner said. “Everybody knows the chip we have on our shoulders that we want to play with. Klemm is stepping up to the plate and I love him for it. He’s doing a great job.”

Klemm is trying to instill the mindset of “necessary violence” and as Kevin Dotson mentioned Wednesday, he appears more aggressive-minded. In part, because he wants the Steelers offensive line to have a certain mentality. Klemm is trying to facilitate that through all facets.

“There’s that type of thug mentality that we have when we put our helmets on,” Banner said of Klemm’s mentality. “It’s still professional, it’s still structured…but when I look at my guys going out in the tunnel anywhere, I’m looking at him and saying ‘let’s f-ing go’. We have that now as a coach.”

Banner noted that he feels Klemm’s resume is undeveloped because he did not get nearly enough credit for developing young talent. In addition, he broke down the responsibilities of the offensive line coach to the assistant offensive line coach. Those include the offensive line coach having far more schematic responsibility in the running game, while the assistant offensive line coach is detail and technique-oriented on an individual level. With that level of responsibility, Klemm is making his impact felt.

“He’s rewriting the bible that we live by,” Banner said. “The technique, the fundaments, things that we’re coming out and doing, that’s something that he does.”

While there will be lots of shuffling around the offensive line, Banner is confident that the unit should be able to overcome its inexperience and be a strength for the team.

“We don’t wanna skip a beat, we wanna make progress,” Banner said. “The best people to judge it against are one of the best defenses in the league. If we can handle it in practice against a great front with 97, 91, 94, 90, and whoever else, then we can do it against anybody.”

The Steelers’ possible offensive line outside of DeCastro has a mere 21 total starts, and 15 of those starts belong to Chuks Okorafor. Needless to say, the Steelers overhauled this unit and questions it currently holds will only be answered when they take the field for their first game.



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