For as much criticism and concern Chris Hubbard has received around these parts for basically his entire Pittsburgh Steelers’ career, it’s only fair and appropriate to throw the Ticker Tape parade for him after a great performance against the New York Jets.
Bob Labriola asked Todd Haley to evaluate Hubbard in this week’s edition of Coordinator’s Corner on SNR.
“I’ve always liked Chris. I’ve always believed in him. He’s been a great teammate around here from a versatility standpoint whether we need him as an extra tight end, stepping in to play guard, center in practice. But to go out there on a real Sunday and play right tackle against a real good defensive line, I thought it was a great job of stepping in and stepping up.”
There’s that word again – believe – that fuels the team’s next man up mentality. And Hubbard rose to the occasion, not giving up a sack and I’m not sure even a pressure. Despite the Steelers’ run game being slowed down and Ben Roethlisberger attempting 47 passes – the most he had since the regular season Denver game a year ago – he was sacked just one time.
Hubbard had told reporters after the game he felt comfortable on the right side because he played right tackle at UAB. But it’s a far cry from the Sun Belt to Sunday and he objectively did a fantastic job in both phases.
As Dave Bryan wrote about, Pro Football Focus graded him as one of the top players to come out of that game.
It’s looking like he’ll have to fill in again this week against the Miami Dolphins with Marcus Gilbert showing no signs of progressing to be ready enough. Miami is tied for 17th in the NFL with ten sacks, led by Ndamukong Suh’s 2.5. Hubbard won’t have to deal with him but he will see Cameron Wake who may only have one sack on the year but is a big threat.
On Wednesday’s The Terrible Podcast, guest and Dolphins’ beat writer Armando Salguero said Wake has only been playing on passing downs, seeing about 20 snaps per game. And with the Dolphins usually the team behind, not the opponent, Wake hasn’t gotten nearly as many opportunities as anticipated. If Pittsburgh can jump out to a healthy lead, and maintain it throughout, Wake’s impact will again be limited.