The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Is Marcus Gilbert going to miss yet another game?
The Pittsburgh Steelers have generally had good health along the offensive line in recent years. They haven’t had any major injuries since 2015, when Kelvin Beachum suffered a torn ACL, and he was of course replaced by Alejandro Villanueva, who since emerged as a top-10 left tackle.
Others have missed a couple of games here and there, but none more than eighth-year veteran Marcus Gilbert, who has missed at least three games in five of his first seven seasons. He has already missed two games this season, including last week, and yesterday he was downgraded to being a limited participant in practice.
It’s generally a bad sign when a player is downgraded in participation from one day to the next when they are dealing with an injury, as should go without saying. Was yesterday a minor setback or something that could lead to him missing more time?
That will largely be determined by why happens today. Even if he ends up being a full participant on the field, however, there is the risk of having a setback, and we won’t know how he feels waking up the next day for a while. Chances are he will be listed as questionable if he practices. Doubtful or out if he is limited or doesn’t practice.
The good news is that the Steelers haven’t really missed a beat when he has missed time this year, and that has come courtesy of Matt Feiler, the second-year player who is supposed to primarily be an interior player on this roster.
His second start on Sunday was the better of his two at right tackle, but he would have his hands full against a very good Baltimore Ravens front. The Steelers struggled in all but one quarter to move the ball when they faced the Ravens at home earlier this year, and that was with a fully intact line.