Kugler Says DeCastro Has Gotten Better Over Past Week

Photo Credit: Peter Diana / Post-Gazette

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line coach Sean Kugler doesn\’t sound worried about first round draft pick David DeCastro, who according to several reports hasn\’t been overly impressive in training camp thus far.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was quoted as saying this week that his rookie guard, who will start Thursday night in the Steelers first preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles, told him that he is struggling the most with the physical part of the game early in training camp, when asked to give a self assessment.

Tim Benz of 105.9 The X asked Kugler on Tuesday specifically how DeCastro was doing with the raw physical strength portion of his game. “David is a physical player and again, its not just about brute strength or anything,” said Kugler. “It\’s technique and leverage and those types things. He\’s been caught in different positions where he\’s been beat and you know its our job to explain it to him how to defeat that. And he works at it and I think David\’s the type of guy that if he makes a mistake, he\’s not going to make it twice.”

Also on Tuesday, my podcast co-host David Todd talked to Kugler for ESPN 970 Radio and asked him about the reports stating that DeCastro has been unimpressive so far.

“Well, I think he is doing fine,” said Kugler. “You know he hasn\’t played in one game yet. He\’s gotten better each day. The thing with him and Mike (Adams), they both missed OTA\’s so they were playing catch up as far as learning the system. He\’s gotten better these last four or five days. He\’s improved dramatically everyday, so I\’ve been pleased with both those young guys.”

Todd also asked Kugler about right tackle Marcus Gilbert, who has flown way under the radar in his second training camp with both of the rookies garnering all of the attention.

“We\’re expecting big things from Marcus, said Kugler. “Marcus was thrown into the fire last year unexpectedly with Willie\’s (Colon) injury and that\’s going to benefit him now. He\’s got 15 games under his belt, he knows what it\’s like to start in this league and prepare. So Marcus Gilbert, even though he\’s in his second year, we\’re counting on.”

In addition to DeCastro and Adams, the Steelers also added a third offensive lineman via the draft in the form of Kelvin Beachum. Beachum, who was drafted in the seventh round, was reportedly kicked inside to left guard early on, but is still taking some reps at left tackle, the position he played at SMU.

Todd asked Kugler which position Beachum would play Thursday night. “He\’s going to play both in the game,” said Kugler, who will coincidently turn 46 on Thursday. “He\’s a guy we want to evaluate at two positions. So he\’s going to play some left guard and left tackle and looking forward to seeing him. He\’s done an excellent job so far this training camp.”

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  • SteelerFanInMD

    I wonder if DeCastro is getting any pointers from Pouncey on how to make the adjustment to the pro game.

  • Bling

    Dunno, but that’s the ugly face of a perennial champion.

  • Bling

    good on Beachum… OL insurance would be comforting

  • panthrowe

    Good ole’ Ben running him mouth to the media again.. Im sure DeCastro appreciated that. Hope he did tear or break anything doing it! We will probably find out tomorrow.

  • Zach Clary

    Good ole’ Ben being the leader and trying to light a fire under the rookie’s ass.

  • SteelerDave

    I think Adams got caught up in a bad atmosphere in college and has done a ton of growing as a person and as a professional. He will be an above average, just slight of pro bowl caliper caliper player for us at LT and be known as one of the biggest steals of this draft. It’s unfair to call or even remember him as 420. Many of us experimented with pot in college only to move on and enjoy success in our professional lives. Adams has the size and apparent desire to be a darn good one.

    In college everything came easy for DeCastro at Stanford. He almost always was the bigger and stronger man in his battles and now faces men his equal in strength and size. It is more of challenge but one which he will excel in with time. DeCastro always has had a reputation for excellent work ethic, being prepared and technique as well as an uncanny ability to pull left as well as right. He has the heart and nastiness to be one of the greats and I fully expect him to excel at the pro level and be a pro bowl player within two seasons.

    Beachum is one guy I personally have always liked. I think the Steelers have tried to make him into a left guard because much like Colon, Beachum does not have the ideal size to play tackle. However, he has the smarts and has shown a ton of consistency in camp. He may never start for us barring injury but instead will likely continue to perfect his craft on our practice squad this season. If injury does ruin Colon’s career I can foresee Beachum one day starting for us at LG or at worst becoming our number one back-up at LT and LG.