The Pittsburgh Steelers's most glaring weakness should see quite a marked improvement in 2014 under new offensive line coach Mike Munchak, reports Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Munchak looks to stabilize the unit that consists of four high draft picks, telling Bouchette that he thinks they "can have a special group here." Last year saw two centers go down, including center Maurkice Pouncey with a torn ACL in the first game, but he's reportedly fully healthy and itching to go.
“He’s doing well,” Munchak said. “The biggest, probably hardest part for him is going to be relaxing and realizing we don’t play until September.”
Munchak inherits four starters that stayed relatively healthy last year - tackle Marcus Gilbert, guard David DeCastro, left guard Ramon Foster started 15 and left tackle Kelvin Beachum, which is important, as the Steeler learned that when injuries occur, replacements just weren't able to gel immediately with the unit.
“People don’t know how hard it is to just get plugged in and how much that affects the chemistry of the offensive line,” he said.
Per Bouchette: ' Many discovered that over the past several years with the Steelers when one lineman after another were knocked out via injury. Barring more of that, the Steelers line should be stable. The only real competition might come at tackle where there are three players and two starting jobs. Mike Adams opened last season at left tackle, starting the first four games before they switched to Beachum.
The Steelers were happy with Beachum, their seventh-round draft choice in 2012 who is undersized but makes good use of technique and leverage. It is conceivable Adams could compete with Beachum at left tackle, but more likely the competition will come between him and Gilbert on the right side.“He might be more comfortable with one or the other, but I think he feels that he could play either one,” Munchak said of Adams. “He just wants a chance just like all of them. He wants to start and play whether it be right or left.” '