Steelers News

Steelers CB Justin Gilbert Might Get Defensive Snaps Against Chiefs

Due to a hamstring injury suffered by Pittsburgh Steelers safety Robert Golden in the Sunday road loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, rookie safety Sean Davis might have to start in his place Sunday night against the Kansas City Chiefs as long as he’s able to overcome the back injury that he sustained in that game.

Depending on how the health of those two players ultimately plays out this coming week, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin admitted Tuesday during his weekly press conference that cornerback Justin Gilbert could wind up playing some on the defensive side of the football Sunday night against the Chiefs.

“You certainly will potentially see that,” Tomlin said of Gilbert possibly playing some on defense against the Chiefs. “Those are some of the things that we’ll etch out in terms of our division of labor as we get a handle on who’s available to us, who’s not and who does what.”

Gilbert, who the Steelers acquired via a trade with the Cleveland Browns prior to the start of the regular season, has only played sparingly on special teams during the team’s first three games and while he’s yet to be used as a kickoff returner since arriving in Pittsburgh, Tomlin didn’t rule out the possibility of him making a debut in that area against the Chiefs.

“He’s on the depth chart and works that area just about daily,” said Tomlin of Gilbert when asked how he he’s coming along as a kick returner. “He’s doing nice things for us in practice, not only in special teams, but getting up-to-snuff on defense. And he’s past the learning what-to-do stage now in both phases and now he’s moving on to the critical element of gaining enough detail to be successful where we’re comfortable and he’s comfortable. I like the progress that he’s made thus far though.”

Through the Steelers first three games of the 2016 regular season, running back Fitzgerald Toussaint and wide receiver Sammie Coates have both returned kickoffs and the two have combined to average only 19.6 yards per opportunity with a long of 23 yards. It goes without saying that Gilbert could likely provide a spark in that area for the Steelers and it will now be interesting to see if Tomlin finally give him a few opportunities to do just that Sunday night against the Chiefs in addition to him possibly playing some on defense as well.

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