Sep 27, 2013; London, United Kingdom; Pittsburgh Steelers players Marcus Gilbert (77) , Mike Adams (76) and Brett Keisel (99) arrive at practice at the London Wasps rugby club practice facility at the Twyford Avenue sports ground in preparation for the NFL International Series game against the Minnesota Vikings. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Throughout the first three games of the Steelers season, to say their offense was an embarrassment would be an understatement. The team now sits at −9 in the turnover ratio, as the offense continues to give the ball up, while the defense can’t seem to come down with the ball.
On the other hand, Antonio Brown has looked like the number one receiver the Steelers saw him as when they inked him to a 5-year deal last summer. As far as the running game is concerned, it would be generous to say their running backs have played decent. But, Pittsburgh should not expect much else since the backfield is full of change-of-pace type backs, and none have shown they have what it takes to be a feature back that teams have to game plan against. While the Steelers’ offensive line has not created big holes for the backs, but this does not take away from the fact that the offense needs Le’Veon Bell to be their feature-back.
Ben Roethlisberger has not helped the cause either. He has looked very nervous and uncomfortable in the pocket, where he has thrown four touchdowns,with four interceptions. I can’t blame Pittsburgh’s signal-caller for being nervous with the recent play of the offensive line, but he also needs to make smarter decisions. While guys like Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown may be large parts of the offense Sunday, when the Steelers face the Vikings, the success of the offense will rely on the play of tackles Mike Adams and Marcus Gilbert.
When I say, “the Vikings defense,” what is the first thing that comes to mind? For most of you, including myself, the first thought that came to mind was, Jared Allen. While Allen may only have one sack so far in the 2013 season, It does not take away from the 117 sacks he has acquired in the past nine years.
This news does not bode well for Steelers fans, as Jared Allen will be taking on left tackle Mike Adams. While the second-year player has not allowed many sacks this season, he hasn’t made Roethlisberger’s life easy, surrendering two knockdowns and five hurries against the Bears. Coming out of college, I saw a player that looked to have the left tackle skill set, but his pass pro. is far to inconsistent for the Steelers to be comfortable right now.
Granted, Adams has faced the likes of Michael Johnson and Julius Peppers. Yet if he ever wants to earn the big paycheck as a blind-side protector, he needs to make improvement. If Adams can take a huge step in the right direction Sunday afternoon against the Vikings, the Steelers chances of winning will skyrocket.
Everyone may know Jared Allen’s name, but every “Batman” has their “Robin.” Brian Robison has been relatively unknown outside of Minnesota, but Jared Allen becomes twice as dangerous when Robison joins him in the lineup. The Steelers can’t help just Adams with Allen, because Marcus Gilbert is left on an island against Robison who registered 8.5 sacks last season. If Marcus Gilbert can shutdown Robison, the Steelers then have the ability to help out Mike Adams with Jared Allen, giving Ben Roethlisberger the opportunity to pick apart the Minnesota Vikings’ beat-up secondary.
If the two bookend tackles, in the form of Adams and Gilbert, are unable to step up against Allen and Robison, Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense could be in for a long day at Wembley Stadium.
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Stats provided by ESPN.com and Pro Football Focus