Guy Whimper: Serviceable Game Day Inactive?

By Matthew Marczi

Many fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers were chagrined when the team brought in Guy Whimper for depth along the offensive line, and not without reason. He has given up a lot of sacks in his career, and had been ranked as among the worst starting offensive linemen when he was asked to be a starter. He struggled in a backup role here in the first two preseason games as well.

However, he actually did a reasonable job in the third preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs, playing most of the second half at right guard.

He looked awful moving to the inside the game prior against the Washington Redskins, giving up a sack on his very first play. That set a pretty low bar from which to compare, but nonetheless, Whimper looked serviceable as an interior reserve option and game day inactive.

Still, he was brought in to provide depth at the offensive tackle position, so why is he playing so much on the inside? Have they given up on the idea of him being an outside player? If so, it does not appear that he stands much chance to make the roster, because both John Malecki and Kelvin Beachum, the two linemen who stand to be the game day active reserves, are capable of playing all three interior positions.

Otherwise, he is battling Joe Long as an inactive reserve at tackle, although his work on the inside may still give him an edge in the minds of the coaching staff. Without further ado, it is worth taking a look at Whimper’s performance in his last showing as we head into the final preseason game.

Whimper and the rest of the second-team offensive line—Beachum, Chris Hubbard, Malecki, Whimper, and Long from left to right, despite being listed in the exact opposite order on the official depth chart—entered the game with 6:29 remaining in the third quarter, after the first-team offensive line ran with Bruce Gradkowski in the first two drives of the second half.

On the first play, the Steelers were hoping to run a wide receiver screen with Derek Moye, but he dropped the pass. Credit Whimper for making the effort block down the field on a linebacker before he realized the play was dead. On second down, another screen pass to Baron Batch seemed like it had nowhere to go, but Batch made the first man miss. Unfortunately, the second man—the one Whimper was supposed to block—made the stop after a short gain.

A roughing the passer penalty gave them a fresh set of downs nonetheless, but again, Whimper failed to maintain a block on a linebacker that ultimately made the primary tackle on the next play. They may not have gotten much further than the four yards gained on the play, but Whimper needs to be able impede a pursuer more than that on a running play.

Steelers Chiefs Guy Whimper

On second down, Whimper did little more on another handoff, but at least his man did not make the tackle. Finally on a traditional drop back in pass protection, Whimper and Malecki worked a strong double-team on a completed pass to Justin Brown, although a penalty on Beachum brought the play back. He and Malecki worked the same beat on third and 15, allowing Gradkowski to find tight end Michael Palmer for a 25-yard gain.

Steelers Chiefs Guy Whimper

After that, Whimper started to look better as a run blocker. On the ensuing play, he blocked defensive tackle Anthony Toribio and allowed Batch to cut back inside for a six-yard gain. On second and four, he threw a chip block to help out Malecki before moving downfield to pick up safety Tysyn Hartman, whom he pushed to the ground, although Batch was brought down in front of his block a yard shy of the first down.

Steelers Chiefs Guy Whimper

On the very next play, however, Gradkowski found Markus Wheaton for a 34-yard touchdown, with Whimper once again doing his job in pass protection, so everything worked out. Whimper continued this similar acceptable level of play throughout the remainder of the fourth quarter without too many plays to highlight specifically.

On one sack of Gradkowski at the end of the third quarter, Whimper gave up quite a bit of room in pass protection, but he was sacked by two other players, and Whimper generally was in control, with Malecki coming over to help. The next few plays were fairly quick passes with not much for him to do, and thus not much on which to comment. He did a solid job in pass protection to finish the drive as well, and did a nice job of turning the lineman out of the hole on the last running play.

On the Steelers’ final drive, Allen Bailey was able to get some push as a pass rusher on Whimper, but it was nothing egregious that would force Gradkowski to rush his throws the way he appeared to do on the final drive, although he was under pressure from Frank Zombo on the second down pass.

Steelers Chiefs Guy Whimper

Overall, Guy Whimper had easily his best of three preseason games against the Chiefs, and, for me at least, it makes the idea of him as an eighth lineman somewhat more palatable if the Steelers ultimately go that direction. A few of his blocking attempts in the running game were poor, and he gave up some ground in pass protection when not working a double-team, but he did not give up a single hurry in the game. It is yet to be determined whether he, or Long, or Hubbard, or an outside free agent pickup, will be the eighth lineman, but it was a positive sign to see some improvement from Whimper in this last game.

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • JohnnyV1

    Please God allow some team to cut someone better so we can upgrade!

  • Bradys_Dad

    The office is looking really bad on this one. Let Lego go when he could have been kept at the league min and sign Whimper? Legs is close to nailing down the LG position in Buffalo and he’s still a really decent backup center. This one has me scratching my head. Did they stock the HQ vending machines with Red Bull or something ?

  • Shea Fahr

    Sorry but I think our office looks very good. We have Malecki who plays both Center and Guard better than Legs. Buffalo is down to their third QB up there due to injuries/poor blocking so it sounds to me that they are the Team whose office looks bad.

  • Bradys_Dad

    This was a one for one compo. Malecki is doing fine ….. no way Whimper can be justified. Otherwise I agree with you.

  • steeltown

    Yea I have to agree with ‘Shea’.. Malecki cost half of what Legursky would in 2013 and he’s basically the same player, maybe even a slightly better OG, but I agree with YOU that the Whimper move doesn’t look good, it was worth bringing him in to see what he’s got, but its pretty much what we all assumed it would be

  • steeltown

    What scares me is the fact that Long is practice squad eligible, I could actually see the FO keeping Whimper on roster, then stashing Long on the PS… BUT if Whimper isn’t OT capable then what’s the point? We have Beachum and Malecki as backup interior guys, we need a swing OT

    Hopefully Long has a good showing Thurs. night

  • SteelerFanInPatsland

    I think most people here made their final judgment on Wimper the day he was signed. It’s good that you’re acknowledging what he’s currently doing.

    I recall Jonathan Scott as a mediocre journeyman who filled in for Max Starks late in the 2010 season andsurprised everyone by playing very well all the way through theSuperbowl against GB. The following season the Steelers had him as a Week 1 starter and he was a train-wreck. A cheap pro with fresh legs can save the season if you need him late in the year and if they allow you to stash younger players with more potential on the PS, that gives you more depth.

  • Steeler Wheeler

    Why in the world keep a terrible player who makes over the minimum and the salary would be guaranteed????? I’d much rather keep a worse, unproven youngster and maybe, just maybe he steps up if called upon and given some reps. We know Whimper is not a serviceable player. Better yet, why keep an eighth lineman if he is not worthy of a roster spot? I promise you, Joe Long, Guy Whimper and whoever else they cut next week will be available and more than happy to make a few game checks if we lose one of out top seven.

  • walter mason

    Where is Jonathan Scott when we need him? Not. Im still waiting for Max Starks to ride in on his white horse…

  • Soliciting Steelers

    NOOOOOOO!!!!!

  • Soliciting Steelers

    Tony Hills got a cut a week or 2 ago, I’d rather bring him back than Whimper…and Hills is actually athletic enough for zone-blocking scheme…

  • bgsteelfan

    No.

  • bgsteelfan

    Starks plays for San Diego now.

  • Shea Fahr

    Nobody wants Whimper here including me. It was you that mentioned the Front Office looks bad and the Legursky situation. I was politely disagreeing with you. This is one of the best front offices in the NFL and you should be proud of them for what they have been able to accomplish thru the years, including this one.

  • joed32

    Looked at Buffalo’s depth chart on their page and on Ourlads.com and they don’t show him as a starter. He was a pretty good Center but struggled at Guard. They just liked Malecki better.

  • joed32

    And he’s second string.

  • joed32

    Scott plays for the Bears, he started at RT for them last year.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I’d take Scott over Whimper in a heartbeat.

  • bgsteelfan

    Ironic isn’t it?

  • bgsteelfan

    I never thought I’d say this, but I agree.

  • walter mason

    Im hoping he gets cut

  • walter mason

    Is the butt blocking tecnique suitable for zone?