We talk about this Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive line. A lot. And we should be. They’re a special group, playing at peak performance, and arguably the best unit in football. But we don’t hear from them a lot because they’re, you know, offensive linemen. No left guard has ever demanded to be the center of attention.
So it was nice to hear from David DeCastro, sitting down with Steelers.com’s Missi Matthews, and asked to sum up his fellow offensive linemen. And honestly, just to hear from DeCastro, one of the quietest Steelers when drafted, genuinely come out of his shell and speak candidly about his teammates.
DeCastro was first asked to describe center Maurkce Pouncey.
“Leader. He’s the leader of the o-line. He has been since I’ve been here,” he told Matthews.
Pouncey has been the rock of the offensive line and has somehow seemed to take his game to an even higher level this year. While still just a couple years removed from a knee injury that turned into a nasty staph infection that could’ve ended his career.
Next up was Marcus Gilbert.
“Steady and strong. We don’t have to make calls anymore, we just go out there and play.”
Gilbert has unfortunately missed the last month with a nagging knee injury. But obviously, the relationship between those two have to be strong since they’re playing next to each other and constantly communicating.
Then there’s the Big Ragu, Ramon Foster.
“Ramon’s a character. He keeps it really light. He’s one of guys who’s been consistent through their whole career.”
Foster will hopefully have the chance to finish out his career as a Steeler, though he’s reportedly looking to cash in one final time in his career. The cap rollover from Le’Veon Bell skipping out this season could go towards retaining Foster. There’s still no dropoff in his play so keeping him around would be a wise move.
DeCastro on Alejandro Villanueva:
“Al is something else. He’s a special character. His life, it’s still pretty surreal if you look at it. I don’t think he really appreciates it and I don’t think he ever will, what he’s done. He’s a good buddy of mine.”
Villanueva has come into his own this year, easily enjoying the best season of his career. It probably won’t happen but he’s worthy of a Pro Bowl bid.
And then there’s Ben Roethlisberger, the man DeCastro is charged to protect.
“What can you say about Ben. His resume speaks for itself. Been an honor to play for him, get a chance to block for him.”
That respect was on display against the Carolina Panthers, DeCastro literally sprinting after safety Eric Reid after his hit on Roethlisberger. To him, that was just standing up for his quarterback, a way of self-policing to make defenders think twice or at the least, suffer the consequences for their actions.
Of course, DeCastro himself has been phenomenal this season and it’ll be highway robbery if he doesn’t make the Pro Bowl and the All-Pro team. He’s yet to allow a sack, the only starter who can say that, and been penalized just once.