After Friday's game, I promoted the hell out of the starting offensive line, citing examples of gaping holes for Cedric Benson. We also examined why and where protection broke down during passing downs. My conclusion is that man-on-man, they performed better than I expected. The biggest critique I could come up with was mental mistakes -- while mental mistakes are often just as disastrous as being physically overpowering, this unit of rag-tag first-timers is miles ahead of where we were with the offensive line in 2008.
We weren't the only ones that praised the line. Cedric Benson said "For the first preseason game there were a lot of positive things that came out. A lot of holes. The offensive line did a great job. I thought we did a good job in achieving what we were trying to achieve as far as being physical and opening up some holes. I thought we were good in the run game."
Carson Palmer was equally impressed. "We did a great job in pass protection. We had some really nice holes for Cedric (Benson). We did a good job up front. When I came out, I told Bobbie I (felt) I had a halo. Huge, five-yard radius in the pocket every time." The starting running back and quarterback both praised the starting offensive line's performance, collectively calling it great.
Now you can include Marvin Lewis as one that said the offensive line passed their first test with flying colors. “I felt good about both the running game and protection. They did a good job playing together and being in the right spots. There was a little bit of miscommunication, but overall they did a really good job.”
In reality, this doesn't mean a thing for Thursday night's game against the Patriots. They're going to have to perform like this Thursday, then next week, the week after that, and the 20 games after that (I don't think we get a bye week on Wild Card weekend). So while it might be a little early to call your favorite Steelers fan and say, "we're going to roll over your asses", we're, as they say, on track.