'We gotta be better'

The questions were persistent at the outset of the season about the viability of an offensive line in transition, about how quickly a revamped unit with a new position coach would be able to come together.

They're still being asked as December football beckons.

"The games, the way they've gone, the situations that have occurred, there's a million things there," offensive coordinator Matt Canada said today. "We haven't won the last few games so it's not been good enough by anybody.

"It starts up front, and that's unfair to them and that's how it works. You can run it or throw it when you're doing well up front. We gotta continue to find ways to be better everywhere. We'll keep looking at it."

The Steelers initially envisioned Chukwuma Okorafor at left tackle, Kevin Dotson at left guard, rookie Kendrick Green at center, Trai Turner at right guard and Zach Banner at right tackle.

But Banner was unavailable for the regular-season opener against Buffalo, so Okorafor was switched to right tackle and rookie Dan Moore Jr. took over on the left side.

That unit played together for the first three games.

Since then Joe Haeg has made a start at right tackle, and J.C. Hassenauer and B.J. Finney have both made starts at left guard.

The Steelers have started three different units of five over the past three games and have gone 0-2-1 in that stretch.

Take a look at Karl's best photos from the Week 12 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals beat the Steelers 41-10

Head coach Mike Tomlin declared the Steelers "open to change" in the wake of last Sunday's 41-10 loss in Cincinnati.

Canada said that's been the case all along up front.

"Every week we look at it, and obviously we got a lot of stuff going on with guys and injuries and there's a lot of things that occur," he said. "We're always looking at trying to find the best five we have healthy at the moment to play."

That remained a complicated process for first-year offensive line coach Adrian Klemm and the rest of the staff as preparations commenced this week for Sunday's hosting of the Ravens.

Haeg was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list and Banner missed practice (illness) on Wednesday.

Banner has played three offensive snaps this season.

Dotson remains on the Reserve/Injured list, where he landed on Nov. 20.

Hassenauer joined him there last Saturday, a move that coincided with the promotion of offensive tackle John Leglue to the 53-man roster for the Bengals game (Leglue didn't play).

"We're making the best of the situation we can every day," Canada said. "Those guys are doing all they can. We're all doing all we can and obviously, we're not winning so we gotta be better."

Including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

"I think Ben's doing all he can right now," Canada continued. "We had a pretty good run, Ben didn't have any picks for what, four (five) games? And was very efficient and effective. The quarterback position, it all comes there. We got ourselves in a bind last week and got behind and had to try to play catch up and do things and it all falls at the quarterback. They either make a lot of plays or they don't and it falls to him.

"I think Ben's playing well. We gotta continue to help everybody, not necessarily him. We all gotta play together, we gotta play better, we gotta coach better and we gotta find a way to win a game."