Found January 31, 2013 on SteelBlitz Steelers Blog:
Yesterday the Steelers new offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr. had his first unofficial interview. He answered some questions with Bob Labriola of SteelersDigest and may have shed some light on the offensive line for 2013. There has been speculation that the Steelers may look to cut Willie Colon this off-season and Ramon Foster is a free agent. Although he could be a target of the Steelers in free agency Bicknell’s comments make it seem like the Steelers could go in another direction altogether. Colon’s 2012 season ended with him being placed on injured reserve. This is the third straight of Colon’s that has ended with him being placed on injured reserve and he has only played a total of thirteen games during the past three seasons. In 2012 Colon was moved from right tackle to left guard and had success and failures at the position. His run blocking was as good as in the past, but penalties and an inability to get in front of the play hurt his production. Many NFL teams want to get their guards out in space, but that also means that those players have to be able to move well enough to do so. The Steelers 2012 first round pick David DeCastro was praised for his ability to pull in college and the Steelers are hoping to see plenty of that during his NFL career. For Colon pulling was an issue. His mobility is not the best and in his first year at guard he struggled with the skill. Due to salary, injuries, and his position switch Colon may be on his way out of Pittsburgh this off-season. That leaves the left guard position up for grabs. Ramon Foster who has played left guard at times during each of the last two seasons could be an option. Foster is an unrestricted free agent this off-season, however, and his ability to play multiple positions may price him out of the Steelers range. Foster could look for a starting job elsewhere and that would leave the Steelers with only one true option for left guard on the current roster. Kelvin Beachum started at right tackle at the end of the season in place of the injured Mike Adams and he played very well. Beachum was six picks away from going undrafted in 2012, but the Steelers were glad to get him in the draft and GM Kevin Colbert said he believes Beachum could at one point be able to play all five positions on the offensive line. In 2013 the Steelers may hope that he can learn and dominate just one, left guard. The Steelers will look to have a more athletic offensive line in 2013 under their new coach Bicknell Jr. During Bicknell’s first interview he said some interesting things about having a mobile offensive line. “You can get too big. Then again, it’s not about being too big, it’s about not being able to move. I don’t necessarily like those guys who get huge and then they can’t bend and move,” Bicknell said. This quote in essence is Colon. Colon may be a mauling run blocker, but he doesn’t fit the guard position; especially on a team like the Steelers that requires their guards to pull. “And mainly it comes down to the run game, because sometimes those real big guys can stay in front of people and make them run around you, but if you cannot cut off on the back side of a run play, or you don’t have the quickness to go and reach somebody, you start to get limited in the run game. I want to be able to have guys who can move, run, and have some quickness off the ball to be able to get into people,” Bicknell continued. Based on those comments the are likely Steelers looking to have a more athletic offensive line in 2013. That also means that the line could be very young. If the Steelers move Beachum to guard to replace Colon they will have five starting linemen under the age of 25. The Steelers starting line would be, from left to right, Marcus Gilbert, Beachum, Maurkice Pouncey, DeCastro, and Adams. The option for left guard would, of course, be to bring back Foster, who just turned 27, if he is willing to come back and if the price is not too high. However, to fit the athletic mold that the Steelers are looking for he would have to drop around 10-20 pounds and come in with better agility. It’s not out of the question, but it would be added work for Foster in the off-season. In 2012 the Steelers only had two players start every game on the offensive line they were Max Starks and Foster. Starks is likely to leave in free agency for greener pastures and Foster could be on his way out too. Although that line has the potential to be very good they are also very inexperienced. It will be up to Bicknell to teach this group not only how to play their positions to the best of their ability, but also how to play together as a cohesive group. Even so, injuries have been the killer for the Steelers offensive line in recent years. Take a look at the San Francisco 49ers for example they are about to play in the Super Bowl that will be their nineteenth game of the season and it will also be their nineteenth straight game with the same starting offensive line.     The post Steelers: Bicknell’s Comments Could Mean Five Offensive Line Starters Under the Age of 25 appeared first on SteelBlitz.

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