When David DeCastro first came into the league out of Stanford, he was branded as a quiet, unassuming type off the field. He would take a while to open up to his teammates. As he established himself in his career, he also gradually built a relationship with the media (to the point where he won the local media award a couple years back).
Now entering his ninth season—boy, it didn’t occur to me how long it’s been until I had to write that—he has become one of the most reliable players in the locker room to get an open and honest and thought-out opinion from. Depending on the topic, at least, if it’s reserved to football, he is not going to filter himself too much.
He certainly didn’t when speaking to reporters earlier this week about what it was like to play on offense last season without Ben Roethlisberger, and with a number of other star players being sidelined with injuries, essentially grounding the offense and resulting in their posting some of the worst numbers in the entire league. That experience was new to him and not one he ever wants to live through again.
“I don’t know, last year sucked”, he told reporters, point blank. “I kind of already forgot about it. It was not fun to play as an offense. It was pretty terrible. You lose confidence and it just kind of snowballs. Find ways to lose games. You can’t win when your defense is getting five turnovers. Yeah, it was a pretty tough year. It falls on everybody. That’s why it is a team sport. You can’t lose that confidence. You have to be better. But hopefully we will have a better attitude this year and hopefully stay healthy”.
While DeCastro did get named to the Pro Bowl—he was the only player on the offensive side of the ball to make it outside of Maurkice Pouncey—the offense as a whole was very poor. They averaged just 18.1 points per game, 27th in the league, and that was with four non-offensive touchdowns, and plenty of help with short fields due to turnovers (their average starting field position ranked sixth last season).
Despite logging nearly 400 rushing attempts, which was 20th-most in the NFL, the Steelers mustered up just 1447 yards on the ground and a mere seven touchdowns, averaging 3.7 yards per carry, all of those figures ranking in the bottom four.
They were one of just two teams to fail to reach at least 3000 passing yards on the season, and their 18 touchdown passes was the fifth-lowest league-wide. They had no 1000-yard receiver or rusher. They didn’t even have a 2000-yard quarterback.
Ben Roethlisberger threw for 5129 yards and 34 touchdowns on his own in 2018. They scored 26.8 points per game, sixth-most in the league, and they had the most efficient red-zone offense. Last year, they had the least-efficient. So when DeCastro says last year sucked, it’s hard to argue with him.