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Steelers Suffer Blow to Offensive Line in Week 11 Loss to Bengals

Jordan Schofield / SteelerNation (Twitter: @JSKO_PHOTO)

Steelers Suffer Blow to Offensive Line in Week 11 Loss to Bengals

The Pittsburgh Steelers‘ offensive line has had an up and down 2022 season, but the one thing that had stayed consistent throughout the season had been availability.

After 10 games, four out of five starters have played 100% of snaps on offense per Pro Football Reference. Only center Mason Cole had missed some time before Week 11, missing a couple of plays of snaps in the season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals and in Week 6 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The former Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals lineman left the game against the Bengals in the first half with a foot injury.

Longtime backup center JC Hassenauer took over for the University of Michigan product after he was knocked out.

Pittsburgh made a significant investment in improving the unit spending $72 million to bring in Cole and James Daniels, and extending Chukwuma Okorafor after a rough 2021 season. The offensive line struggled mightily especially in the run game as the team finished last in the league in rushing offense, largely a function of the poor protection.

Questions remained about how effective the unit would be in 2022 after a very poor showing in the preseason where the group was manhandled by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Early on in the season, the unit appeared to be gelling, and the least of the team’s problems.

Pittsburgh has been able to run for 144, 217, and 102 yards in the last three weeks as the unit has made massive improvements and a re-energized two-headed attack of Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren started producing out of the backfield.

 

Steelers Center Replacements

Steelers Hassenauer

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line in action during a regular season game in 2020. (Karl Roser/ Pittsburgh Steelers)

Hassenauer has taken all of Cole’s reps when he has missed time this season and would be in line to take his place should he miss time with his foot injury. The former Alabama Crimson Tide man in the middle of the line has gotten into 38 games and started 7 since he joined the team in 2019 after a short stint with the Atlanta Falcons.

steelers, kendrick green

CINCINNATI, OH – NOVEMBER 28: Pittsburgh Steelers center Kendrick Green (53) before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals on November 28, 2021, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, OH. (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kendrick Green would be the other option for head coach Mike Tomlin in place of Cole. The 23-year-old, who the team picked in the 3rd round in 2021, started 15 games for the team last season at the position after playing guard with the University of Illinois. He has yet to play a single snap in 2022, so,it seems unlikely he would be thrown back into the fire in a position he struggled playing last season.

 

So, Steeler Nation, how much do you think missing Cole will matter? Do you want to see Hassenauer or Green fill-in? As always, leave us your comments down below or on our social media feeds.

#SteelerNation

Hello Steeler Nation! I hail from the great city of Kingston, Ontario, Canada, hometown of The Tragically Hip. I grew up a Steelers fan because my uncle is and he used to live there. I saw the Steelers beat the Bengals at Heinz Field in 2017 in my only visit to Pittsburgh.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Kyle curran

    November 22, 2022 at 5:01 am

    World is comming to end Creed Humphries is hurt. Oh!! Mason Cole season has ended.

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