Offensive line in transition again

It all starts up front, which helps explain why the Steelers are starting over again up front.

New offensive linemen have been brought into the mix for a second consecutive season.

There's also a new position coach.

And this time the Steelers are also altering their approach.

Free agent-acquisition James Daniels detailed the "short-setting" favored by offensive line coach Pat Meyer back in the spring.

"The way Coach Meyer teaches it, he teaches us, the inside guys, to set aggressively, so set on the ball instead of backing up," Daniels explained. "When you set aggressively on the ball that gives the QB a lot more time to step up in the pocket. It can really help make things clear for the QB.

"Sometimes quarterbacks, if there's pressure in their face, they drift away, drop back too far, and that can mess up the timing with the routes and receivers. Setting aggressively will help more with helping our quarterbacks step up in the pocket."

But it's not something the Steelers will rely upon all the time.

Meyer spoke at Mandatory Veteran Minicamp about the need to have multiple approaches to pass protection.

"You can't do the same thing over and over again, the defense is too good," Meyer maintained. "These players are too good at this level, the defensive ends especially. You're talking about the best pass rushers in the world so you have to be able to change your sets up. You can't just set the same way on every play or they're gonna get a bead on it.

"We're going to be aggressive when we can. You can't always be aggressive but we're going to be aggressive at times as a change up. Our philosophy is let's keep them as far away from the quarterback as possible. So we always want to try to talk about things like making the first significant contact. Let's make the first significant contact, not let the defense dictate the pass protection to us. Let's dictate the pass protection to them, that's kind of our philosophy."

First, they'll need to sort out who is asked to do what from each position.

"We'll play where they put us," guard Kevin Dotson said.

For Dotson, that'll be determined initially by a competition at left guard with last year's starting center, Kendrick Green.

"They didn't tell me until I got here (for OTAs) but I understand it," Dotson said. "They feel like they need to do what they need to do. I'm gonna do what I need to do.

"I love competition. It definitely brings out the best in you and I want to see the best in myself."

Daniels arrived from Chicago having started 48 of 54 career regular-season games with the Bears as a guard or center.

Mason Cole has also played both positions during his four-year career with Arizona and Minnesota (39 starts in 60 career regular-season games).

Both impacted their new team almost immediately in the spring.

"That room is so important to be together and the cohesion from that room," offensive coordinator Matt Canada said. "They're both guys who have been around. They're both good guys and you can see the younger guys gravitating to them."

Last year's left tackle, Dan Moore Jr., is back for is second NFL season.

And last year's right tackle, Chukwuma Okorafor, a fifth-year pro, signed his second contract with the Steelers in the spring.

"Everybody we brought in is confident enough to do their job and I know they can do it at a high level," Dotson insisted. "They have the idea, the knowledge, the capability to do everything."

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