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Tuesday July 5 2022
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First-and-Ten: Max Starks

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Twenty-eight year-old Max Starks is in his seventh season with the Steelers and has become the old man of the offensive line. Starks has started 67 games over his career, including two Super Bowl victories. The left tackle out of the University of Florida took the time to chat with PSR's Ken Torgent last month.

Ken: How difficult is it for an offensive lineman when there’s so much turnover on the line due to injury?

Well I think the biggest thing is that, you know, when you have a team, you rely on your depth and having quality guys that can step in and be starters anywhere else. I can definitely say that about our offensive line. The guys that we have that are starters-in-waiting, they could go start for any other team in this league. That’s one great thing about having great depth and that’s why teams are always looking for that. Adversity’s gonna strike. You’re gonna have guys that get injured and who go down at different times during the season and you’re going to have to have guys who can come in and step up and maintain that standard that the starting five has set. We’ve done a great job. The good thing is that we’ve got a heavy dose of rotations early on. Now everybody has experience so if something does happen later in the year, we’re well-equipped to handle that.

Ken: So you’ve been impressed with the guys who have stepped in?

Oh yeah, definitely. There’s a reason why they made this team. They’re all great athletes and they understand this system and this offense and that makes them invaluable.

Ken: How has rookie Maurkice Pouncey fit in with the line?

Maurkice has done a great job of adjusting, especially to a pro style of offense coming out of college. I think he’s done a great job of embracing the concept and studying and getting ready for games. He still has a ways to go, but he’s on the right path and nothing beats the athleticism and the great spirit that he brings. He brings that jolt that you need at the center position to be able to be active and athletic.

Ken: Any concerns about the lack of continuity among the line with so many guys dropping in and out of the lineup? Could that have any effect on the line’s production?

I don’t think it does. Most of the guys that are here have been together for at least three years, so we’ve all played with each other at some sort of capacity. I played with Doug Legursky at left guard in the preseason last year. Ramon Foster came in for Chris [Kemoeatu] last year and played when he was injured against Baltimore and the Miami Dolphins at left guard. This group, the continuity isn’t really an issue, I think, with us. We all communicate and that’s the biggest thing; as long as you’re talking and everybody’s on the same page, then you should be successful.

Ken: How different is it blocking for Ben Roethlisberger compared to blocking for another quarterback?

It’s nothing different. I mean, you look at reading your guy and see where he’s trying to go. Obviously, if your guy lets off, then Ben has probably rolled out to the left or the right. So you want to continue to keep moving with that guy and kinda shuffle and wait for the “oohs” and “aahs” of the crowd. I mean, sometimes the guys aren’t open or they’re double-covered and you can’t really get to them, so we know that we have to be on our P’s and Q’s.

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