During his Tuesday press conference, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin made it sound like there was no guarantee that right tackle Marcus Gilbert would return to the starting lineup this week against the Kansas City Chiefs after missing the last three games with an ankle injury. On Wednesday, however, Gilbert gave every indication that he will indeed be playing Sunday, according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“It will be a good matchup,” Gilbert promised, when asked about him having to potentially face Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston this weekend. “Especially since it’s my first game back, I’ll be pretty excited. I’m sure I’m going to see his best, too.”
Houston enters Week 16 tied for the lead league in sacks with 17, so he’s definitely a force to be reckoned with this season and it will be a chore to keep him away from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
This will be the second time that Gilbert has squared off against Houston during his NFL career. The last time the two faced each other was in 2011 and the Steelers former second-round draft pick did a commendable job against him as he didn’t give up a sack in the game. That was three years ago, however, and Houston is a much better player now than he was when he was a rookie.
Gilbert isn’t likely to be the only Steelers tackle forced to deal with Houston on Sunday, however, as left tackle Kelvin Beachum should get an opportunity to face the Georgia product some during the game as well. It should be noted, however, that all Houston’s sacks so far this season have come when he’s been lined up on the left side.
“He’s playing with a chip on his shoulder. Justin is one of the best in the league,” Gilbert said Wednesday, according to Bouchette.
Hopefully a fully healthy Gilbert shows up Sunday with an even bigger chip on his shoulder because the Steelers offense cant afford to have Houston be a problem all afternoon.