Aug 29, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers Felix Jones (23) runs the ball during the third quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers defeated the Steelers 25-10. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers: Will zone blocking scheme work against Bears?


Much has been made about the Pittsburgh Steelers poor effort on the offensive side of the ball through the season’s first two weeks.

Ranking 31st in the NFL in rushing is a big reason why this Steelers team has scored a paltry 19 points through two weeks.

Aug 24, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Felix Jones (23) carries the ball against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second quarter at Heinz Field. The Kansas City Chiefs won 26-20 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

That begs the question of is there any hope at all for things to improve this week as the  Steelers play host to the Chicago Bears Sunday night?

It’s no secret that the Steelers must run the football better and as they try and prevent an 0-3 start to the season, that running game will have a new look.

Not only will former 2008 first-round pick Felix Jones get a chance as the Steelers primary ball carrier, but the offense will be turning to the zone blocking scheme that they worked on all preseason.

Despite working on zone blocking all camp, the Steelers have run just one zone play all season. That just happened to be the play where they lost Pro-Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey for the season.

There could be several reasons why the Steelers went away from something they preached all camp.

One could be the fact that Isaac Redman was the starting running back the first two weeks of the season and he just simply doesn’t have the speed to hit holes (if they are there), especially on the outside.

The other likely has to do with the loss of Pouncey, who was the anchor of the line. It’s difficult to implement something new with new bodies up front.

But the zone scheme is something the Steelers will turn to against a Bears team that has allowed an average of 93 yards per game on the ground through two weeks.

There is some good news in the fact that the Steelers will get Heath Miller, a great run blocker. back in the lineup and that Jones will get a look in the backfield.

The bottom line is things can’t get any worse for the black-and-gold.

Hopefully the switch to the zone scheme can pump some life into an offense that desperately needs it.

If it doesn’t, be prepared for an 0-3 start.

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Tags: Chicago Bears Felix Jones Pittsburgh Steelers

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