Heading into the 2021 NFL season, there was no doubt the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line was going to be a position group to watch as they were likely to have five new starters in Week 1.
Turns out, they ended up with only four new starters. The lone holdover was OT Chukwuma Okorafor who started 15 games at right tackle last season as well as Week 1 this year. He was expected to be the Steelers starting left tackle, but ended up sliding back over to the right side.
The starting offensive line from left to right ended up being Dan Moore Jr., Kevin Dotson, Kendrick Green, Trai Turner, and Okorafor. A young, but mean group that gave SteelerNation optimism that 2021 would show an improved unit upfront compared to 2020.
Heading into Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills, there was some cause for concern however. The Bills have an improved defensive line, as well as an aggressive group of linebackers who could wreck havoc.
Throughout the game, there was a lot of positive play by everyone on the Steelers offensive line. Whether it was a pancake on Tremaine Edmonds by Turner on a wide receiver screen, or one of the many blocks through the whistle by Green, Steelers fans are ecstatic to see the power from this unit that was missing last year.
Multiple times on Sunday, the Steelers offensive line provided high level blocking which either resulted in a clean pocket for Ben Roethlisberger, or some wiggle room for Najee Harris to get free like he did on his 18-yard run late in the game.
However, those bright spots were also surrounded by plays that also made SteelerNation cringe at times. Plays such as the strip sack on Roethlisberger where Moore got beat quickly off the edge where he opened up too much letting the defensive end get by him rather easily. That is not to pick on Moore exclusively, as he played a decent game as a whole which was his first career start in the NFL as a fourth round rookie.
Overall the Steelers offensive line is who we thought they would be. They are an aggressive group who are definitely going to have several plays a game where the opponent ends up lying on their back. But, they are also going to end up with multiple plays that end up in quick pressure or plays for negative yardage.
They are a young group with very little time as a unit to gain the chemistry they need to become one of the top units in the NFL. While there are going to be a bunch of growing pains, the things we saw on Sunday from them should give all of SteelerNation a lot of optimism for better things in the future.
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