With the Pittsburgh Steelers coming off their bye week and little to talk about in the interim outside of returning players, now would be as good a time as any to take a look back on what’s transpired this season and give out some mid-year player evaluations.
The team as a whole has suffered its ups and downs throughout the season, particularly the bi-polar offense that prefers the comforts of home. Even with all the road struggles, however, the Steelers are ranked seventh in the league in scoring, averaging 26.2 points per game.
On the flip side, the defense has struggled not only with youth and inexperience but also with injuries, en route to posting the 19th-best defense in points allowed, giving up 23.9 points per game, with hopes to start changing that down the home stretch.
Player: David DeCastro, RG
David DeCastro is not the Pro Bowl right guard we all automatically assumed he would be now three years into his career. He still lacks the consistency to earn that prestige. But he certainly makes a lot of Pro Bowl-caliber blocks from time to time.
The Steelers have had a great deal of success running the power offense with DeCastro pulling this season. It’s managed to generate several of the team’s longest runs of the year, particularly when accompanied by another lead blocker on the move.
When DeCastro is playing well, the Steelers can easily use this strategy as their bread and butter of the offense, which they have been able to do a few times this year. But he’s also had his struggles, particularly in the division games against the Browns and, more specifically, the Ravens.
It should not exactly be surprising, but DeCastro has struggled the most in his career when going up against quality defensive fronts, whether they be 3-4 or 4-3 personnel. Naturally, one would be inclined to have a harder time against more equal competition, but he must eventually rise to the occasion in order to take the next step in his development.
DeCastro has also had issues in pass protection throughout the season, and these issues have come less from failing to pick up stunts, but rather having been beaten one on one. He has been good for giving up a few pressures a week, as well as the scattered sack, for about the past six or so games, and that needs to get better.
One thing to be thankful for, at least, is the fact that he has taken every snap for the offense this season, as he has had injury issues in his first two years in the league. He’s also gotten over an early rash of penalties and hasn’t been flagged in a while.
DeCastro certainly has the makings of a Pro Bowl player, but he hasn’t put it all together yet. It’s easy to point out the highlights in his tape, but there lacks a great deal of consistency still.