A point of emphasis for the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason was reimagining an offense that finished last in the NFL in rushing last season. Newly signed guard Trai Turner believes he’s an ideal fit to bring back a traditional standard of Steelers football.
“It’s just one of those teams, one of those organizations that they always compete, always in the game, and play my style of football,” Turner told Omar Ruiz Tuesday on NFL Total Access. “They have a great quarterback at the head of the center, but they like to run the ball. That’s something I’m excited about.”
When asked by Ruiz what exactly that brand of football of his is, you can imagine the Terrible Towels twirling.
“Smashmouth,” Turner answered. “Able to get out and pull, get in some space and run a little bit. Just have a little bit of fun, man. It’s fun when you’re throwing the touchdowns, but I think it’s fun when you’re able to run them too.”
Turner signed a one-year deal with the Steelers in late June just hours after the team released longtime guard David DeCastro, who is in need of another ankle surgery. Set to start at right guard, Turner joins a revamped offensive line that is projected to feature four new starters, with Chukwuma Okorafor and Zach Banner at the tackle positions, Kevin Dotson at left guard and J.C. Hassenauer at center.
Pittsburgh hired Matt Canada as its new offensive coordinator this offseason, as well. The first-year OC explained that he plans to lean on Ben Roethlisberger’s strengths, which will include a run game that takes the pressure off the 39-year-old QB. The team also used a first-round pick to get running back Najee Harris, who showed the potential to be a great all-around back during his days at Alabama.
All the changes are an effort to fix an offense that averaged a league-worst 84.4 yards per game last season, which caused troubles for a one-sided offense into the playoffs.
Turner, 28, is coming off a forgettable season with the Chargers, as he played in just nine games while dealing with a lingering groin injury. His lost year snapped a five-year streak of making the Pro Bowl when he was with the Panthers, but Turner believes he has the tools to help bolster Pittsburgh’s run game and put himself back into form.
“I believe in my game. I think I’m a dominant run-blocker,” he said. “I think I’ve shown that throughout the years. I’m just excited to come in and just be with the group of guys and learn, but also give out information, if that makes sense. Just go out there and compete. I think competing is the biggest thing. When you go out there and you compete, good things happen. So, I’m excited about it.”
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