By Alex Kozora
NOTE FROM DAVE: Due to my own confusion, both Alex and Matthew wound up breaking down Marcus Gilbert this week, but I think you will benefit from seeing how two different people viewed his play and overall it was encouraging.
A breakdown of all 39 snaps from Pittsburgh Steelers right tackle Marcus Gilbert versus the Washington Redskins.
Run Block/Pass Block: 4/1
- 1st and 10, 15:00 1st. Zone to the left. Flows down the line working against the tackle.
- 2nd and 6, 14:21. Base block five tech. Falls down when Stephen Bowen rolls up into his legs. A job usually reserved for well…Marcus Gilbert.
- 1st and 10, 13:52. Combo block with David DeCastro. The guard moves to the second level. Gilbert holds his block well and finishes the play, flashing a bit of a mean streak.
- 2nd and 9, 13:10. Draw to Le’Veon Bell. Ryan Kerrigan really just containing, protecting against a cutback. DeCastro bumps into Gilbert and loses his balance, letting Kerrigan past but doesn’t affect the ball.
- 3rd and 8, 12:26. Pass protection. Working against rookie DE/OLB Brandon Jenkins. Good base, moves well laterally, and sends the rookie upfield. Good play.
Run Block/Pass Block: 1/2
- 1st and 10, 9:46 1st. Double team Barry Cofield with DeCastro. They wash him out of the play. Jonathan Dwyer bounces it outside for a first down.
- 1st and 10, 9:16. Kerrigan one gap over from Gilbert. Dwyer acts as a buffer, forcing Kerrigan to take a wide angle and he really doesn’t even put much of an effort in engaging the RT. Gilbert just slides with him.
- 2nd and 16, 8:31. Kerrigan’s INT returned for a TD. Really nothing Gilbert can do here. You’re not attacking in pass protection, you’re reacting. It’s letting the rusher make his move and mirroring him. If Gilbert steps into him, he’ll probably end up bending at the waist and letting Kerrigan by. Like I said in the game notes, just a heads up play by Kerrigan to see Ben’s three step drop, realize he isn’t going to get to Ben, and pull up and snatch the pass.
Run Block/Pass Block: 2/2
- 1st and 10, 8:18 1st. Double-team Cofield and then Gilbert works to the second level and sticks to London Fletcher really well. Good job of getting his legs back underneath him when the ILB tries to shed. Makes sure he doesn’t end up holding him.
- 2nd and 7, 7:36. Empty set. Gilbert in pass pro working against Kerrigan. He again takes a wide angle and isn’t trying to engage Gilbert. Gilbert moves laterally with him until the ball is out.
- 3rd and 5, 6:49. This time working against Brandon Jenkins. He initially gets under Gilbert’s pads and starts to walk him into the pocket. But Gilbert does a nice job of maintaining his knee bend, eventually absorbing the rush, and works his hands inside to stop Jenkins. Some good, some bad on this play. Ends up being negated by penalty.
- 3rd and 10, 6:21. Base block against Jenkins. Not much happening.
Run Block/Pass Block: 4/7
- 1st and 10, 4:01 1st. Counted as a pass block but it’s a hot route by Ben to Antonio Brown vs a single high safety look. One step and ball is out so no time for the tackle and end to even engage.
- 2nd and 1, 3:23. Run to the left. Kerrigan able to dip under and past but doesn’t factor in on the play.
- 1st and 10, 2:42. Pass block and it looks like Kerrigan initially wants to go wide but then decides to bull rush. Does get under Gilbert’s pads and part of the reason why Ben had to scramble but at least he didn’t let him shed. Picture of Kerrigan winning the leverage battle.
- 1st and 20, 2:18. Pass protect, blocking one gap down to the DT. Paulson solo on Kerrigan who mercifully drops into coverage. Short arms the tackle who slowly walks him into the pocket. Doesn\’t impact Ben’s pocket in part to gaining so much depth on a seven step drop.
- 1st and 10, 1:52. Reach block vs the three tech. Tough block because you have to try and gain inside leverage against the tackle shaded inside of you. Is able to stick to him and keeps his legs churning but isn’t able to actually cut him off and the tackle helps make the tackle. But I can’t be too critical.
- 2nd and 5, 1:09. Ben’s scramble drill completion to Paulson. Love this play. Excellent recognition of Washington’s zone blitz. Playside three tech slants down and the zero tech drops into coverage. London Fletcher blitzes the “C” gap but Gilbert picks it up with ease after seeing the tackle slant away. Obviously, Fletcher has the built-in leverage advantage and able to get under Gilbert. But Gilbert absorbs well, gets his arms extended, and holds up. Sticks to Fletcher for 5.32 seconds by my count, all the way until Ben finally releases the ball.
- 1st and 10, :39. Another reach block on the three tech. Legs under and sticks. Pretty good job.
- 2nd and 7, 15:00 2nd. Pass protect working against a slanting three tech. No issue here. Good base, butt down, gets his arms extended. Play negated on a Maurkice Pouncey penalty.
- 2nd and 17, 14:28. Kerrigan again gets under his pads. Hard to tell if Gilbert was going to be able to absorb or not because the ball comes out pretty quickly.
- 3rd and 8, 13:42. Pass block vs Brandon Jenkins. Good initial job of not letting him dip under and mirrors when Jenkins tries to spin off. Plants and able to push off his right foot (first picture below). But then Jenkins gives him a shimmy to the outside and Gilbert unable to mirror, grabbing his arm in a desperate attempt to slow him down (second picture). Lucky he wasn’t called for holding.
- 3rd and 18, 13:12. Seals Jenkins on a Counter run.
Run Block/Pass Block: 1/1
- 1st and 10, 9:22 2nd. Another reach block for Gilbert and he can’t cut off the tackle who brings Baron Batch down. But a really difficult block even for as athletic as he is. DeCastro chips but still difficult. Picture to show how far down Gilbert has to work.
- 2nd and 9, 8:44. Strip sack by Kerrigan. Covered it in my Game Notes and I’ll post the pictures again below. Able to dip under Gilbert. Like I said, I think part of it is due to Kerrigan moving from the “C” to “D” gap at the last second and Gilbert not getting a deep enough drop.
Run Block/Pass Block: 2/1
- 1st and 10, 8:30 2nd. Shows low hat on run action. Initially sticks to Daryl Tapp but he comes off the block once Bruce Gradkowski starts to scramble.
- 2nd and 6, 7:44. Gilbert dominates Fletcher on this run. Works to the second level, sticks, drives, and doesn’t let go. Beautiful.
- 1st and 10, 7:02. Base block. Not much going on except for Dwyer’s fumble.
Run Block/Pass Block: 2/9
- 1st and 10, 5:57 2nd. Screen. Tapp gets a good jump and beats Gilbert off the edge. But the ball comes out quick on the screen.
- 2nd and 10, 5:46. Pass protection vs Jarvis Jenkins. Good arm extension, holds up well.
- 3rd and 3, 5:02. Pass protect vs Brandon Jenkins. Gets his arms extended, gets into Jenkins’ body, and doesn’t let him dip coming around the edge. Slides laterally and pushes him upfield.
- 1st and 10, 4:56. Power O. Gilbert works to second level to ILB. Sticks and holds well until the last moment right before the whistle when the ILB sheds. But still a good job.
- 2nd and 10, 4:16. Paulson and Gilbert working against Tapp. Pushes him upfield, making him a non-factor.
- 1st and 10, 4:10. Working vs Tapp. Clean kickslide, mirrors, stymies Tapp on his spin. Good job.
- 1st and 10, 3:29. Honestly, I lose Gilbert with all the down blocks. Looks like he base blocks the three tech. This is why I love coaches’ tape and wish it came with the preseason footage. Adding that to my Christmas list.
- 2nd and 10, 2:47. Pass protect vs the DT. No issues here.
- 1st and 10, 2:00. Tapp does a good job of getting low and dipping under and past. But it should also be noted that Alvester Alexander looks to bump into Gilbert on his release. That obviously isn’t helping matters. Picture below.
- 2nd and 10, 1:53. Pass protect. Good base, mirrors the OLB.
- 3rd and 4, 1:07. Tapp gets under Gilbert and starts to put him on skates. Does recover and buries Tapp into the ground.
Run Block/Pass Block: 16/23
Though it wasn’t related to anything about the offensive line, after the Giants game, I remember LaRod Stephens-Howling was asked about what he thinks he’ll see on film the next day and saying something to the effect of “It’s never as good as it seems or as bad”. And that’s how I felt watching Gilbert. Watching it live, I thought Gilbert like the rest of the line had a poor performance. But combing through it, it was a pretty good showing.
There were some bumps along the way most notably the strip sack fumble. But he was an excellent run blocker sans a few tough reach blocks and I loved him working in space at the second level. Like Mike Adams, his height makes leverage difficult in pass protection and he doesn’t have quite the strength that the left tackle possesses to absorb them as easily. Still, it isn’t terrible and has the lateral movement to handle speed rushers.