December 23, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer (27) is tackled by Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Domata Peko (94) and outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict (center) and free safety Reggie Nelson (20) during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Cincinnati Bengals won 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
After the running game struggled mightily in Pittsburgh over the past few seasons (26th in the NFL last year), the Steelers plan to supplement their power-rushing attack with more zone-blocking concepts in 2013. New offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr. has been installing more of this over the first week of organized team activities, including the outside zone, one-cut blocking style:
"I like it. I like it a lot,” tackle Marcus Gilbert said of the new wrinkle. “It is going to take time for the whole line to get it but … coach said it has been looking good so far.”“We are going to be dedicated to the zone,” running back Isaac Redman said. “We are still going to be a power team, but we are going to have this zone scheme in so we can keep the defense on its heels and keep them running. It is going to help our offensive line a lot because guys are going to be on the move where they can take their guy and keep him moving, and we can cut back off of it. In the past we were just pounding and pounding, and they were getting tired. That’s not going to happen this year because we are going to mix it up."
Matt Williamson looks at how Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice really started to wear-down last season, and whether or not Bernard Pierce and Bobby Rainey can come in and carry more of the load in 2013.
Williamson also looks at how Cleveland Browns RB Trent Richardson battled numerous injuries during his rookie season, and of he can hold up as a feature back in offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s offense
In light of Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher’s retirement, the 5x NFL All-Pro said former Raven Ray Lewis is the best middle linebacker of all time.