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Mike Tomlin on OL expectations: We didn’t set the bar real high last year

Rodney Harrison talks with Minkah Fitzpatrick about life as a Steeler, what the team learned from its rough ending to 2020 and his desire to stay in Pittsburgh long term.

Change was the focus of the Steelers offensive line this offseason as they have one starter back from last year and a new position coach leading the unit into the 2021 season.

That returning starter is Chuks Okorafor and he will be moving from right tackle to left tackle, so it’s pretty much an entirely fresh start up front on offense in Pittsburgh. After years of having a line led by center Maurkice Pouncey and right guard David DeCastro, that has left some wondering how effective the unit will be.

On Thursday, head coach Mike Tomlin said he was not in that group and, given last year’s performance, that any lost stability with the unit is not necessarily the same as lost production.

“We don’t have the bar set real high,” Tomlin said, via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “We were last in the league in rushing. We have nowhere to go but up from certain aspects. It’s not something we fear. . . . We’ve got capable guys. There’s an expectation here that those guys are going to deliver. I’m not going to be surprised when they do. As a matter of fact, we expect them to. You can write a rags-to-riches tale . . . like we’re starting at ground zero or in the basement, but we don’t see it that way.”

The Steelers also have a new offensive coordinator in Matt Canada, so there will be plenty to do on that side of the ball in the coming weeks beyond putting together the new line in order to make sure that the offense is ready to go for Week 1 of the regular season.