Foster takes charge on offensive line

PITTSBURGH -- Ben Roethlisberger thinks the Steelers’ offensive line needs to play with more of an edge, and Ramon Foster agrees with him.

That is why the Steelers’ left guard went to Mike Tomlin at the beginning of the week and told the seventh-year coach that he wanted to assume leadership of the line.

“I was here with guys such as Willie Colon and Trai (Essex) and Chris Kemoeatu and they were angry guys on the field,” Foster said. “I learned under those guys to finish every doggone play and take no mess from anybody. I think that’s got to be exhibited more on the field.”

I wondered even before Roethlisberger’s comment on the offensive line how much the Steelers missed a player like Colon.

Colon, raised in the Bronx, was one of the toughest guys in the Steelers’ locker room. He took a brawler’s mentality onto the field with him, and he wouldn’t stand for the Steelers' offensive line getting pushed around.

I understand why the Steelers had to part ways with Colon, who is now with the New York Jets. They needed salary cap relief, and Colon, who signed a five-year $29.5 million contract in 2011, couldn’t stay on the field because of injuries.

But man do they need more guys to show more fight -- literally, at times, if needed -- as Colon would have done if the Steelers’ linemen were taking more punches than they were delivering in the trenches.

Credit Foster for not only recognizing this but also vowing to do something about it.

“Not to say that we’re playing soft or anything like that but when teams look at our film they’ve got to understand that you’re playing against the Steelers,” said Foster, who is in his fifth season in Pittsburgh after making the team as an undrafted free agent in 2009. “We can’t just put on our pads and expect guys to respect us.

“Teams come in to play us as if they’re playing for a Super Bowl most times. They get one on us and they laugh down on us. When we put out our film we’ve got to make sure guys respect what they’re seeing, that it’s not going to be an easy game for them. We had guys in the past that jumped on the pile late and got a $15,000 fine.”

Foster chuckled when asked if someone along the line needed to take that hit so to speak. But he didn’t quite go that far in saying that the Steelers' linemen need to summon more nastiness when they are on the field.

“You’ve got to be smart and angry at the same doggone time,” Foster said. “We are a Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line. We’ve got to show that, and guys (need to) understand that. We keep (Roethlisberger) up, we block well we’ve got a good shot at turning this thing around and being the team that we want to be.”