Steelers offensive line catches a break against a tough Browns pass rush

Cleveland Browns defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (90) before the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Cleveland Browns defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (90) before the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

The Browns will be without two edge defenders this week against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here’s how the OL can build on their solid Week 2 performance.

Many fans thought the offensive line would be the downfall of the Pittsburgh Steelers early in the 2022 season. As it turns out, there are plenty of people to point the finger at — most notably quarterback Mitch Trubisky and offensive coordinator Matt Canada. In reality, the offensive line actually played quite well in Week 2 against the New England Patriots.

The Steelers exited their home-opener against the Patriots with a loss. After doing an excellent job containing Matt Judon and New England’s pass rush, it looked like Pittsburgh’s offensive line was really going to have their hands full on a short week. Mike Tomlin’s team travels to Cleveland to face the Browns in an important Week 3 matchup on Thursday Night Football.

Unfortunately for Cleveland, they will be without starting edge defender Jadeveon Clowney and backup Chase Winovich this week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.

This is a big blow to an already struggling defense, but the Steelers offensive line can breathe a sigh of relief. Clowney was having a very strong start to his 2022 season with 1.5 sacks, 2 pass defenses, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery, via Pro Football Reference. While Winovich is only a backup, his loss really hurts the depth Cleveland has at the position.

While Myles Garrett is playing as good as ever on the right edge, Alex Wright and Isaiah Thomas are the only two edge defenders currently on the roster. Both players recently entered their first season in the NFL and neither has any real experience at this level.

Steelers must help Dan Moore this week

A lethal combination of Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney could have potentially given the Steelers offensive line fits against the Cleveland Browns in Week 3. However, with Clowney and Chase Winovich both out, Pittsburgh needs to shift the attention to helping Dan Moore Jr.

In Week against the Patriots, Chukwuma Okorafor graded out as the best offensive player on the team for the Steelers, and he has been the most impressive offensive lineman on the roster dating back to the start of the summer. Okorafor will have a very manageable matchup against a pair of rookies likely splitting time at left edge.

Moore, however, won’t be so fortunate this week. He gets a daunting task against a multi-time All-Pro pass rusher in Myles Garrett. Moore is not only the youngest starting offensive lineman of the group for Pittsburgh, but his play has also been the most consistent.

Last year, the Steelers left Moore on an island far too often to handle Garrett on his own when they faced the Browns. They must have learned their lesson from doing so. This time around, offensive line coach Pat Meyer needs to slide the protection his way — whether that includes chipping with a running back or tight end on most plays.

The Steelers offense is one of the worst in the league through two weeks and they are going to have a hard enough time getting going. The last thing they can afford to do is allow Garrett to tee off on them and rattle Mitch Trubisky.

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Mike Tomlin should have several l key objectives in this game, but eliminating Myles Garrett needs to be at the top of the list. It’s pivotal that the team shifts the attention to his side and helps out Dan Moore Jr. on just about every passing play.