Despite a shaky performance last week, Justin Gilbert will remain one of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ kick returners this weekend, he confirmed to the Trib today.
From Chris Adamski, who caught up with Gilbert after today’s practice.
“I’m back there again this week,” Gilbert said. “So hopefully we can make one pop.”
During the interview, Gilbert talks about the relief he had after the team converted the third down to win the game after Gilbert managed to lose two yards and put his offense at their own five.
Gilbert told Adamski he was going to just take a knee but at the last momemt, decided to get more yardage.
“Then, (the Chiefs’ coverage players) were up on me so fast. I caught a glimpse to my right. I thought I had an opening; I started running that way and I saw (teammate Eli Rogers) waving his hand, like, ‘I got your block; come on.’ So I was trying to make it to the block. But No. 21, (rookie Eric Murray), he did a good job of cutting me off.”
Ben Roethlisberger connected with Antonio Brown on third and three to win the game. Had they failed, the Chiefs almost certainly would’ve had great field position only needing a field goal to win the game.
But the team is showing confidence in Gilbert to give him another chance and correct his mistakes. He certainly is a more dynamic player than any other option though the ability to trust his decision-making is fair to question.
He’ll breathe life into a kick return unit that finished in the middle of the pack though frankly, that’s probably better than what a lot of people would guess. They lacked any semblance of big returns, however, rarely able to give their offense good starting field position.
The New England Patriots, for what it’s worth, allows the third fewest yards per kick return this season at 19.3 yards per try. The longest individual return they’ve given up is just 35 yards so it may be tough for Gilbert, or Sammie Coates, to find a crease against that unit.