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Offensive line sticks together

Posted Oct 28, 2013

While injuries haunt the offensive line, it is bringing them even closer together.

The old superstition that bad things come in threes held true for the Steelers offensive line on Sunday, when three of them left the team’s 21-18 loss to the Raiders with injuries.  
 
“It’s definitely unusual,” said guard Cody Wallace. “Luckily we had eight guys dressed. I have never seen that many guys go down.”

Ramon Foster (concussion), David DeCastro (ankle) and Guy Whimper (knee) all exited the game, leaving the team with only five healthy linemen left to finish.

“We knew we just had to stick together and push through any nicks and pains that we had,” said tackle Marcus Gilbert. “That’s just the way it was.”

The Steelers opened the game with Kelvin Beachum at left tackle, Foster at left guard, Fernando Velasco at center, DeCastro at right guard and Gilbert at right tackle. Guy Whimper came after Foster suffered the concussion, and then Wallace replaced Whimper when he injured his knee. When DeCastro went out with the ankle injury, Beachum slide over to left guard, Wallace moved to right guard and Mike Adams came in at left tackle.
 
“I was talking to Ramon after the game and said I have never been a part of a game where three offensive linemen went down in a game,” said Whimper. “The toll on the line since the season started has been pretty crazy.

“We just have to continue to push through it like we have been doing up to this point and just work through it.”

Even tackle Levi Brown, on injured reserve after injuring his triceps during warm-ups before the Jets game, was shaking his head as he watched the game on television.

“At one point I was thinking who is going in there next, how are they going to figure this out?” said Brown.  “You see a lot of injuries in a game, but not just one position where it seems like it’s focused on. It was crazy. It’s tough but it’s part of football. Injuries happen and the next guy up has to be ready.”

Coach Mike Tomlin is expected to provide an injury update on Tuesday during his weekly press conference, but no matter who is out there, they will be ready to go.

“We’ll just have to keep working, trying to get everything together, and shuffling guys around a little bit to find the best combination and go from there,” said Wallace. “You have to be ready to go at each position and be able to step in and not miss a beat.”

STICKING TOGETHER: The offensive line knows they have to stay together as a unit, and there is no doubt that’s exactly what they will despite the injuries.   

“You have to stay tight,” said Whimper. “As an offensive lineman, being in the league for eight years now, I see this is the closest group on the field. We have to continue to keep that going.”

Dealing with injuries is nothing new for them, something they have contended with the last few years and began all over again this year when Maurkice Pouncey was lost for the season week one against Tennessee. All of that has brought them together in the past, and this will do the same.

“We have to draw together as unit and believe and trust in each other, especially the guy next to you,” said Gilbert. “That is the most important thing as an offensive line because you aren’t playing as individuals, you are playing as one.

“We have the group that will pull together. We have seen it in the past and we are capable of getting the job done.”

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