From the sounds of it, Pittsburgh Steelers right tackle Marcus Gilbert should be back on the field after missing two games with a knee injury when the team visits Georgia to play the Atlanta Falcons.
One person who may be particularly pleased about this is right guard David DeCastro, who has simply not worked as well with Mike Adams at right tackle over the last two games, particularly when it comes to managing pass rushing stunts.
One might look at the mere statistics and want to draw a parallel between Le’Veon Bell’s big game on the ground and, well, basically anything to do with Adams. After all, he seemed to be a bit of a run blocker in his few games stint as a starter during his rookie season in 2012.
That, however, was not the case—if anything, the Steelers found success on the ground in spite of him. I broke down some of his struggles in the run blocking department in the team’s last game earlier today, which bears out this unfortunate reality.
That’s not to say that he has made any strides as a pass protector, either, only that his poor performance in the running game has overshadowed his highly publicized weaknesses in pass protection. The fact that he has an unearned reputation as a run blocker also weighs in on the matter.
Suffice it to say that the offense should benefit with Gilbert returning to the lineup, who, outside of a some early struggles in giving up sacks, is having his best season as a professional after signing a long-term extension with the front office in the offseason.
He and DeCastro are accustomed to working together, and have developed a sound rapport working in tandem in pass protection, which is something that has been lacking when the former has been out of the lineup.
Despite the fact that the offense has been successful in Gilbert’s absence, putting up 74 points over the last two games, with plenty of yards to go along, the right tackle position has been a bit of a weakness in those performances.
Adams gave up more pressure than anybody else in both contests, and his run blocking was particularly poor in the last game. For a team that has traditionally been so right-handed as a rushing offense, that could be a problem. The solution was to simply run away in the other direction, with DeCastro pulling around left end.
Many tried to hold out hope that we would see growth from the former second-round pick this year under the tutelage of Mike Munchak, the celebrated offensive line coach, but when he has been given the opportunity to perform, he simply has not stepped up. Right now, he really doesn’t look like a player who will see a second contract with the team that drafted him.