DeCastro Admits To Struggling Physically To Roethlisberger

Pittsburgh Steelers first round draft pick David DeCastro reportedly hasn\’t set Latrobe on fire through the first twelve days of training camp, and according to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, it is the physical part that is giving DeCastro the most problem.

Mike Bires of the Beaver County Times reports Monday that Roethlisberger talked to the Stanford product recently to see how he was doing and asked the rookie to give a self evaluation of himself.

“I talked to him the other day,” Roethlisberger said. “I said, ‘How you doing? Evaluate yourself.\’ “He said it’s different. I said what do you mean? He said it’s tough. I said what’s the tough part, the mental or the physical? He said, ‘The mental part I got. The physical is a lot tougher. These guys are really good.’”

At least DeCastro was honest with his quarterback and it is good that Roethlisberger took time to get inside his head. I must admit that I figured DeCastro to be a plug and play type guard after he surprisingly fell to the Steelers in the first round. While it is still early on in the process, it seems that Decastro has a ways to go before he overtakes Ramon Foster, who reportedly is having a good camp. Am I alarmed yet? No, not really, just surprised more than anything. Keep in mind that the great Alan Faneca was forced to alternate with Roger Duffy at left guard at the start of his rookie season and he did not make his first start until after the bye week against the Cincinnati Bengals in week 6.

DeCastro was a man amongst boys during his time at Stanford and now he is finding out that the quality of defensive lineman that he will face in the NFL is three times as good as what he faced in the Pac-12. In addition, he is likely feeling a lot of pressure on him being the teams first round selection. DeCastro now knows what he is up against and should work hard to get to where he needs to be. It\’s good to hear that it is the physical aspect, and not the mental aspect, that is giving him fits right now as that can be fixed with time in the weight room. If it was the mental aspect, then I would certainly be worried.

Although many of us were shocked that he fell in the Steelers lap in the first round, one person that evidently wasn\’t was General Manager Kevin Colbert, this according to team president Art Rooney II, who was interviewed Friday night at Latrobe Memorial Stadium by Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan of SiriusXM NFL Radio.

“We\’re excited to have him,” said Rooney II about DeCastro. “Kevin Colbert, our GM, really in January started saying, \’You know this guy is going to be there,\’ and we kept saying, \’Kevin, forget it. He\’s not going to be there when we pick,\’ and we were surprised that he was there.”

“So we\’re excited to get him and he\’s out there learning,” continued Rooney II. “He was a little late, because he\’s one of the guys that had a late graduation date, so he missed part of the offseason. So he\’s learning, but it\’s going to be fun to see him work his way up in the upcoming preseason games and see him get in there.”

Judging by the comments made by Rooney II, the preseason is when they expect DeCastro to start working his way up. Will he work his way up fast enough be the week one starter Denver? Time will only tell, but it appears right now he is firmly behind Foster on the depth chart heading into preseason game number one this coming Thursday against the Philadelphia Eagles. At that time DeCastro will likely get quite a bit of time with the second unit and we will get a better gauge of where he is or isn\’t from a physical standpoint.

  • I too thought he was plug and play. Might be better that he actually has to work for it. Its the Steelers way of doing things. Blue collar, work hard and get better.
    I’m rooting for the kid since we really can’t afford a bust on the o-line.

  • TJimmy

    Hmm..I wouldn’t be concerned if it was the mental aspect because it’s only 2 weeks of camp.

    The physical CAN be a problem if he hits a wall in the weight room. Some people are just naturally strong like Hampton or Roethlisberger. Others are not. Time will tell with DeCastro..

    His smarts and technique served him well in the PAC-12. You need more than that in the NFL.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I get that he is struggling physically right now, but I’m not stressed about that. We also know the following, DeCastro is a gamer. Let’s see how he looks on Thursday before we hand the starting job to Foster. In addition, we know that Pouncey says he is way ahead of where he was at this point. You could argue that is the mental aspect, but when you go back and remember the things which got Pouncey drafted, I don’t think Pouncey was struggling there either. If we have to start the year with Foster….so be it, but DeCastro will get there.

  • I agree with everything Zarbor said. He’s going against strong, powerful D-line starters like McLendon, Hood, and Heyward each day. I’d imagine that’s a pretty tough task, even for a first round draft pick. His athleticism and ability to pull left will eventually set him apart from the pack, and evidently that may come later than the majority anticipated. I think it’s great though that he’s learning about that now in his rookie year at training camp versus an actual game. Just one more perk about competing against the best everyday.

  • emac2

    Struggling physically can simply mean that he is struggling with the fact that he can no longer win on strength alone. The idea of being far and away the strongest person you have ever met and then to be playing for and against people who are your equal is enough to make your head spin for awhile. It actually ends up being a mental issue because once you are going fast enough mentally you no longer need to be stronger than the other guy to beat him. At this point every time he makes a small mental error the other guy gets an advantage he isn’t strong enough to overcome.

  • walter mason

    Maybe McLendon, Hood, and Heyward have gotten much better and stronger. .

  • Kenneth Wilt

    He’s not going to be a bust. Remember Pouncey thinks he is AHEAD of where he was at this point. At this point in preseason of his rookie year, Pouncey was still thought of as an option to start at RG not Center.

  • Mike.H

    we fans totally drink the cool-aid by believing NFL linemen only weigh 315 when they’re really 345 with weight room super strength. Earning that NFL paycheck has its undersides while we sip beer and down salted beernuts at the sports bar.

  • HoustonJr

    Interesting, if I were a betting man I would have surely thought DeCastro would be in the starting lineup before Mike Adams. Nonetheless, I’m sure he’ll be just fine.

  • James

    If he doesn’t start in week 1 this year then its no big deal, if he doesn’t start in week 1 next year then it could be time to worry.