Steelers Offense Line Preparing to Keep Mason Rudolph Protected

Mason Rudolph returns to the Pittsburgh Steelers as the offense looks to "open up" for the second-half of the season.
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The Steelers offense isn't just looking to find more success in the passing game. Ranked 28th in passing offense and 26th in rushing, Pittsburgh has seen the effects of an injury-ridden season. 

The return of Mason Rudolph should allow the Steelers to begin to see some consistency for the second-half of the season. Without expecting an instant change, the offense is hoping they can begin to expand with each week. 

Of the struggles, one thing has stayed true in Pittsburgh. The offensive line has continued to show they're one of the best in the NFL. As they get their starting quarterback back, they're aware the pressure has, and will remain, on them. 

"It's just the nature of the position, we play o-line you always have the pressure on you," David DeCastro said.

Rudolph has been pushing to get back into action since leaving the field in Week 5 against the Ravens. Earlier this week, the quarterback said he's looking to have pressure around him again, but his offensive line isn't hoping that's the case. 

"We try to prevent all that," DeCastro laughed, replying to Rudolph's comment. "Hopefully we can be efficient, run the ball and keep it out of situations of third and long."

The Steelers' offensive line has only allowed six sacks this season, leading the league through seven weeks. Despite keeping three quarterbacks upright, DeCastro says the group doesn't pay too much attention to the stat lines.

"Sacks don't really tell the whole story a lot of time," DeCastro said. "When you have a quarterback running to the side of the field three-yards back and it counts as a sack. Keeping him clean, giving him time to throw, there's a lot of little intricacies that go into it." 

Pittsburgh's running game should also get a boost with the return of Rudolph. James Conner has only four more rushing yards than receiving yards this season, controlling the offense since the injury to Ben Roethlisberger. 

DeCastro says the team enjoys running the ball, but doesn't care which offense the Steelers are running. The difference; when you're running because you're winning, you're having fun. 

"Usually when you're running the ball you're in the lead, you're controlling the game which is fun," DeCastro said. "I don't mind either way. Just keeping honest, being in a one-dimensional passing game when you're down a couple scores is tough."

The Steelers square off with the Miami Dolphins on Monday night for a showdown between two teams fighting to turn their season around. The winless Dolphins haven't shown a ton of promise this year, but DeCastro says their record only says so much about them.

"They play well together," DeCastro said. "They've got some guys up front, young guys, that are hungry. Records don't really matter. You watch the guys like last week, they were in a close game. You know they're going to be ready, especially on Monday night coming here."