It might not come as a surprise to you that when it comes to football, what people say isn’t necessarily always what they really think. And the Pittsburgh Steelers more than many teams often have a certain company line that Head Coach Mike Tomlin likes to harp on, especially in preparation for certain games.
Tomlin’s line for this game against the Jacksonville Jaguars has been about not bringing in baggage from the past because these are two different teams from last season, when the Jaguars beat the Steelers twice in Pittsburgh.
But there are some on the team who will always give you their honest answer, and one of them is David DeCastro, who recently spoke to Missi Matthews for the team’s website in an interview that was posted there yesterday.
Matthews asked DeCastro about preparing to face the Jaguars and if it was in their minds about what went down a season ago, if the losses are something that they think about heading into the game. “You have to think about it”, he told her. “You try to keep it every week the same, not to be sidetracked, to be professional about it, but it’s always going to be in the back of your head that they kicked our butt, and we’ve got something to prove. And they know that too and will be fired up and ready to go. It’s at their place, so it’ll be a big challenge. They’re a great defense”.
The main reason that this matchup has lost a lot of steam is because Jacksonville has not been particularly good this season, riding a five-game losing streak en route to a 3-6 overall record, currently and comfortably the last-place team in the AFC South.
But the Steelers to a man seem to believe that the Jaguars are a better team than their record this year, that their defense is still very good, and that their offense should be hitting a new stride with Leonard Fournette back up to close to full speed.
“Records don’t really mean much in games like this with a common opponent and the history between us.”, DeCastro said of pitting the Steelers’ 6-2-1 record against Jacksonville’s 3-6. “It’ll be a good battle. I know they’ll be ready”.
While the two teams have been trending in proportionally opposite directions—the Steelers’ five-game winning streak matching Jacksonville’s string of losses—both groups shouldn’t have much trouble getting up for this game, I think.
I believe this offensive line in particular believes it has a point to prove against the Jaguars, who handed them better than anybody last season overall, especially in the first game. DeCastro in particular had a rough one against the like of Calais Campbell. So he and the rest will want to prove that they can control the game against this front seven.