The journey toward the Super Bowl is now well under way with the Pittsburgh Steelers back practicing at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, still informally referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility. With the regular season standing in their way on the path to a Lombardi, there will be questions for them to answer along the way.
We have asked and answered a lot of questions during the preseason and through training camp, but much of the answer-seeking ends in the regular season, and teams simply have to make do with what they have available to them. Still, there will always be questions for us.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond as they develop, looking for the answers as we evaluate the makeup of the Steelers on their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: Will Marcus Gilbert play a full game before the bye week? Should they rest him out of caution?
The 2017 season has surely not gone as veteran right tackle Marcus Gilbert planned. Heading into the season, his agent had talks with the front office about his desire to be better-compensated for his service. Having a few years left on his contract, that obviously is not going to happen now, but it could help set up the groundwork.
What won’t help is continuing to reinforce the notion that he can’t be relied upon to stay healthy. already he has missed three games and parts of two others with a bothersome hamstring injury, only going to distance from start to finish in the season opener.
During his press conference yesterday, Head Coach Mike Tomlin did not have a proper update on Gilbert’s status after he left Sunday’s game tugging on his hamstring after Le’Veon Bell’s touchdown early in the second quarter.
Having played six games, the Steelers are just two away from hitting their bye week, and one can’t help but wonder if the team is going to get a full game out of him prior to then. I personally wonder if they should even try to push it.
The hamstring has clearly been an issue, and they don’t want to rush it. They didn’t even rush it as he returned Sunday, yet a reinjury occurred anyway. And Chris Hubbard has done yeoman-like work over the course of the past three games, his best likely coming against the Chiefs.
Considering how they were able to run their offense with two backup linemen in there on Sunday, I don’t think Gilbert should be rushed back to get into a game before the break. He’ll be needed more so for the playoffs than for the Lions and Bengals (and Bears, oh my).