Marcus Gilbert’s elbow injury should be cause for concern. And I’m sure it’s something Mike Tomlin has in the back of his mind. But practicing what he preaches, the standard remains the standard. Speaking to reporters today, Tomlin said he wouldn’t pay close attention to Gilbert’s injury throughout the season.
“If he plays, then he’s good enough to play. That’s how we approach it. I’m not going to quantify level of availability. Either he’s available or he’s not. We expect them to be available so we’re not going to over-analyze it.”
Gilbert declined specifics of his injury speaking to the media yesterday but has implied he may need surgery after the season and you can probably bet good money that he will.
He played his best football last year, a Pro Bowl level, but the injury could make it difficult to reach those heights again.
“As far as the significance of [the injury], I don’t really know,” Gilbert told reporters via Steelers.com. “But it’s getting better.”
In answering the next question, Gilbert did concede the injury was “significant.”
Though he’s vowed to play week one, if he can’t, or the injury becomes too much of an issue during the season, Ryan Harris will replace him. And that’s something that is worth monitoring. Harris was a necessary signing, a swing tackle with lots of Sunday experience, but his play in the preseason has been uninspiring and never posed a threat to Alejandro Villanueva’s job at left tackle.
Last season, according to our records, Gilbert allowed just 1.5 sacks in the regular season. That was a full sack fewer than the next starting linemen.