Does anyone remember when Jerome ‘The Bus’ Bettis could be seen on a Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh running over linebackers for fun? Whilst those nostalgic images are swirling around your head answer me this question, how many times since ‘The Bus’ has retired do you think that the Pittsburgh Steelers have finished in the top five regular season rushing teams of the AFC? I can tell you now that it’s once (2007) when the Steelers were ranked second in rushing within the AFC. In the other six years without Bettis in the backfield the best result the Steelers have managed within the AFC is 7th. Pretty poor for a team that’s always prided itself on the run game.
After such a stretch of futility, it’s finally time for Pittsburgh to make some drastic changes up front and stop panicking over trying to keep Ben Roethlisberger upright, and instead focus on playing the sort of football that the team has become known for, an effective, physical, well executed run game.
Todd Haley has decided on getting back to the old school Pittsburgh identity by changing the offensive line’s man-blocking scheme philosophy and replacing it with the zone blocking scheme that is featured within the NFL’s best rushing attacks.
If the Steelers are going to get any joy from this change then there’s one critical change they must make along their offensive line, and that’s getting younger and more athletic.
Word around the team is that faithful servants Max Starks and Willie Colon will no longer have a spot on the team’s roster, despite Starks having had a very good season at the tackle spot. If these roster moves do in fact take place, then it will show just how committed the Steelers are to getting their running game back to the top.