- Al Sharpton, Trayvon Martin’s parents rally against Fla. ‘stand your ground’ law
- Hillary Clinton campaign got illicit funds from D.C. scandal figure
- Obama administration backs off plan to cut prescription-drug program
- Tickets linked to stolen passports purchased by Iranian middleman
- More than 3,500 police planned for Boston Marathon
- Ottawa day care suspends 2-year-old for ‘outside’ cheese sandwich
- Liam Neeson tells NYC mayor to ‘man up’ in horse carriage fight
- Real-life Dr. Doolittle to reveal how to talk to animals
- Climate change could bring back smallpox, researchers say
- Shoe-bomb witness to speak from London at N.Y. trial
Steelers’ line laughing all the way to Super Bowl
“Who’s laughing now, O-line?” Roethlisberger proudly exclaimed two years ago.
Big Ben has kept a tight relationship with his linemen over the years, even though the unit was maligned during the 2008 season. There have been similar whispers throughout this season, but here Pittsburgh is again, preparing to play the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
Only one starter will be the same from that win over Arizona two years ago. Both starting tackles have gone down this season and guys with a combined three starts have locked down center and right guard. Still, the Steelers‘ linemen are laughing all the way to Cowboys Stadium.
“Just the way this group’s all come together and bought into our philosophy since the beginning of training camp, it’s nice to now see all that hard work pay off,” said Max Starks, who began the season at left tackle but sustained a season-ending neck injury Nov. 8.
Maurkice Pouncey entered the season with credentials as a first-round pick out of Florida, but was only a rookie. At right guard, Ramon Foster took over at midseason after being an undrafted free agent in 2009 with only three previous starts as an injury replacement.
Inactive for four of the season’s first eight games, Foster beat out Trai Essex on the depth chart after Essex _ an off-and-on starter at guard and tackle over his six years with the Steelers _ was benched.
Signed as a free agent over the offseason from Buffalo, Jonathan Scott started the final eight games at left tackle. Veteran Flozell Adams was signed on the eve of training camp, and the 13-year veteran has been one of the few constants after having been plugged in at right tackle.
Left guard Chris Kemoeatu is the only leftover from the ‘08 team. He started 15 games this season, missing one with a knee injury.
Throw in a new offensive line coach this season in Sean Kugler after Larry Zierlein was let go, only added to the constant state of change.
“It seems like we’ve had significant change on the offensive line every time we’ve been to the Super Bowl,” Starks said. “I wouldn’t say that this season was the wildest ride of them all, but I’d say it’s been the most exciting.”
Maybe that’s because the group overcame so much to help Pittsburgh get this far. The Steelers ranked 12th in the NFL in total offense _ in the top half of both rushing and passing offense _ and 11th in the league in yards per play (5.6).
This despite the fact that only one player made it through the season as the starter who also started the prior season. Three players started at times at right guard and two each at left guard and left tackle. Essex, Foster and Doug Legursky have seen action at multiple positions _ sometimes over the course of the same game.
“All of us have the same principles and the same philosophy,” Starks said. “The biggest thing is no matter who you plug in, as long as your guys are consistent to the philosophy of our offense, any running back can be successful.”
Stunt raises carbon-dioxide level with lots of hot air
- Hillary Clinton campaign received funds from Jeffrey Thompson
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- Depth, distance reduce impact of California quake
- Mitch McConnell on beating tea party: 'We are going to crush them'
- SAUERBREY: Taxing Marylanders until they flee
- Atheists sue to remove 'Ground Zero Cross' from 9/11 museum
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Sharyl Attkisson resigns from CBS after months of talks
- CARNES: Kissinger's flawed and offensive analysis of Ukraine
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again