Apologies To Marcus Gilbert As He Was Far From A Loser Sunday Night

Even though the all-22 view of the Pittsburgh Steelers game against the Chicago Bears won’t be available until Wednesday, I went back through the game a third time Monday night and focused in on right tackle Marcus Gilbert being as Pro Football Focus scored him so well. After doing that, it is clear that Gilbert was unfairly put on the post game losers list by me.

Outside of a pressure allowed on third and five with just over seven minutes left to go in the half, Gilbert really played a good game and he most definitely deserved the good grade that PFF gave him. In fact, it was probably his best game since late in his rookie season.

So, with that out of the way, let me publicly apologize to Gilbert.

Knowing now that Gilbert indeed played well Sunday night, it does make you wonder why head coach Mike Tomlin decided to replace Gilbert with Kelvin Beachum for 13 plays. Tomlin’s comments after the game certainly made it seem like he was unhappy with the play of both of his tackles Sunday night.

“They hadn’t played well enough to justify otherwise,” Tomlin said about subbing Beachum in for both Gilbert and Mike Adams during the game. “We’re going to look at viable guys. We’re going to turn the stones over in an effort to find a winning formula, and we’re not going to be bashful about that. Kelvin Beachum has earned an opportunity to play in the rotation. He did tonight because of it.”

So if Beachum earned the opportunity, why didn’t he start? If anyone deserved to be yanked in that game for 13 plays it was Adams, not Gilbert. A rotation? Really? Was Gilbert late for a meeting? Did Beachum bring Tomlin an apple prior to kickoff? Besides, isn’t Beachum the backup center right now being as Cody Wallace isn’t dressing for games? This decision really made no sense.

I doubt Tomlin will be pressed further about this during his Tuesday press conference, because in the grand scheme of things it’s really insignificant and not the reason the team is 0-3 right now. I am curious, however, to know what the real reason was behind this decision and I wonder if Gilbert even knows.

  • steeltown

    Well I owe him an apology as well then, I did base most of my blame on the fact that he was replaced by Beachum and noticed that as a whole the corners of the OL were allowing a lot of pressure in that game.

    This just furthers the questioning of Tomlin’s judgment. Where is Bicknell in all this? Did he have any say, was he the one who suggested the rotation..and if not, why did he not stick up for Gilbert?

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Shrugs, I saw him throughout the game and he held his own. However he did look gassed, I assumed that’s the reason why Beachem came in for him. If not, Tomlin really need to stop with his notion of putting players in his doghouse.

    I always had wanted Gilbert to play at LT. Even if the result is probably same as Adams, at least Adams seem to be superior at RT, rather a dominating running blocker. There is a lot similiarities with him and Flozell Adams, minus their last name.

  • Luke Shabro

    I saw at least three blown assignments in the middle of the OL where they allowed DJ Williams to shoot the gap and blow up the run and/or Ben. I love Velasco so far but how much of this is guys still not communicating well? I think individually they could be better but are at least decent, but they are not working as a unit at all

  • treeher

    I’ve been critical of the coaching decisions all along and yes, this just adds to what we’ve been seeing. It’s possible that it is all Bicknell and Tomlin was just out there in front. Maybe that’s why his explanation is so puzzling.

  • steeltown

    I want Adams at RT as well, hopefully we either draft a true LT next year or Beachum magically becomes a stud Left tackle

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Can’t wait to see your breakdown of the OL this week Dave. Will be interesting to see if you get it done. The OL seems very porous and blaming Gilbert was easy because he has been a big problem for the first 2 games. Like to know the culprit?

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Tomlin is too quick to change guys out and I have a problem with that. Players will make mistakes and we need to have confidence in them that they will get better. Things look to unstable and it shows on the field.

  • Bell Cow

    I know exactly what play you’re talking about and Ben has to see that blitz coming pre-snap and check out of it. Sometimes it’s a simple numbers game and there simply aren’t enough linemen to block the 6 or 7 defenders who are blitzing.

  • Luke Shabro

    That’s a fair assessment. Good time to run a quick out with the back. Dump it out to Felix and let Williams come at you

  • Bell Cow

    Yeah exactly. Our linemen are below average, but Ben has to take responsibility for some of these sacks. He has to learn to use his check downs and forecast a blitz pre-snap to audible out of it.

  • steeltown

    I think there is no where near enough check downs, Ben keeps looking down field all game, which is important for big splash plays, but if the blitz is coming check down to the RB or TE in the flat or whomever is there, please

  • Luke Shabro

    Ben’s never been good at pre-snap reads of the defense. He only reads well when the ball is snapped and all hell is breaking loose around him. However, this season, that ability seems to be fading as well

  • Ghost_rider60

    Ben has to run Haley’s called play. The players know it won’t work but it is the called play. Look at the hurryup and compare the outcomes. Let Ben run the game.

  • charles

    This loss is because our best player was the worst player on the field: Ben. Not Gilbert, not Adams, not Tomlin (although his decisions seems not to be his decisions sometimes). Cutler outplayed Ben when it counted. His lack of mistakes meant he outplayed Ben when it did not count as well. Ben Roethlisburger stunk up the joint and he does not seem focused or prepared.

  • NW86

    Interesting, I pretty much presumed Gilbert was bad as well, based mostly on his play from the first two games. Sometimes, it takes a while to work off your reputation (just ask W. Gay). Overall though, I did think the the OL actually improved last Sunday. Sure, the Bears got a lot of pressure on Ben, but that is a great defense and they were doing a lot of blitzing and stunting. Also, there were actually a few holes in the running game for the first time all year.

  • NW86

    Maybe Ben needs to worry a little less about whether young guys have access to the ping-pong table, and a little more about his own preparation?

  • John Mazza

    I think Tomlin just benched him for a bit to light a fire under him. Looks like it worked. If he can push these guys to think they haven’t earned anything then maybe they will step up their game. Like he did with mendenhall his rookie year.

  • NW86

    Are you serious?
    Did Haley tell him to put the ball on the ground and to throw it to the opposing team too?

  • bonairsfavoriteson


  • SteelersDepot

    Care to point out where he looked gassed?

  • Phil Heidenreich

    I’m sure he was just playing ping pong during work hours or something.

  • cencalsteeler

    This Oline is making it’s share of mistakes, but they’re young. The development is improving and there is light at the end of the tunnel. I saw holes open up when they used DeCastro to pull. Why they don’t have him pull more is beyond me, that is his strength. The Steelers also run heavy to the right. If I know this, than opposing defenses know this, advantage Defense. Dave posted last season some ridiculous stat that the Steelers ran 90%(guess) to the right. Mix it up more, defenses know your tendencies. Also, Ben’s style of play does not help out a young oline at all. If you fast forward some of those drop backs and scrambles he does, it looks like a Benny Hill show. If Ben would check down or throw the ball away sooner, the Oline wouldn’t get as much blame.

  • Bilgewater D

    Really? Asking your Super Bowl winning QB to play smarter is asinine?

    He needs to protect the ball better and just take a sack when its apparent he’s not getting away.

  • CrazyTerry

    Another clueless move by the coaching staff. As I mentioned, I was wrong too about Gilbert when I saw the PFF headline. So whyu is Tomlin still sticking to old baggage instead of realizing the changing reality of what happened in the game. When I watched the game again, i realized Gilbert had a much better game than I perceived it to be. I think we were still carrying baggage from his play in prior games. Adams was just awful and David JOhnson was the only one responsible for one bad block on a double team with GIlbert. Beachum should have stayed on the left side.

  • CrazyTerry

    I wouldn’t go that far. Ben and The defense were 90% responsible for Chicago going up 17-0. (The defense couldnt make a stop when it mattered. once the game got close again after the D tightened up once they were trailing 17-0, the D let a 27-24 score become 34-24 which shows that Chicago was merely playing it safe to safeguard the ball in bnetween).

    But I felt Adams was the worst player in the game. On one INT, you can tell Ben has no wish to sidestep the pressure up the middle because he knows on almost eveyr play some guy is beating Adams on his blindside.

    My worst players for this game:
    1) Adams
    2) Foster
    3) Ben
    4) Williams (he had a great chance to stop 4 points when Timmons had the guy nearly down at the goalline).
    5) Alll the WRs not named Antonio Brown.

  • CrazyTerry

    Historically, in the ARians and Haley era, our linemen have not been mentally adept at recognizing stunts, blitzes. I am not good at OL terminlogoy. But they are are bad at sliding over to adjust to a stunt. And so you have 3 linemen on one guy with another defender coming unblocked or something like that. They are bad at takingt advantage of chip blocks of their RBs.

  • CrazyTerry

    Which is why Arians had to leave. Good for Arains that he is doing better (though AZ was shut down by NO defense but that aspect of the offense was what prevented Ben from going to the next level. Fact is even under ARians, ben has won a game only once where he had to score more than 30 points to avoid losingthe game. For whatever reason, Arians didn’t show the same edge here. Maybe he got too comfortable with Ben?

    THis is not saying Haley is better. Just a reminder to guys like Ron Cook who keep saying firing Arians was the dumbest move in Steelers history. There are OCs better than Arians.

  • Kareem Daniels

    The defense kept them in the game. The defense got beat on sme good plays by Cutler and his receivers. The only bad play from the defense was William Gay trying to punch the ball out instead if tackling Forte at the 40.

  • Jollyrob68

    But that in itself is the problem. Ben doesn’t like to check down and Haley’s offense by design is to go through your reads and check it down. What Ben does best is what is also killing this team. Holding onto the ball,ducking scrambling leads to SACKS but also lead to TD’s.
    Ben isn’t the QB for Haley’s offense & Haley’s not the OC to get the best out of Ben. Randy FIchtner or Kirby Wilson should of been the OC and should be after the bye.

  • CrazyTerry

    Gilbert actually looked pretty solid on the drive before he was benched. That Beachum rotation on the right side made no sense at all in the context of this one game.

  • Ike Evans

    Tomlin isn’t good with personnel moves….his judgment sucks….that’s his downfall

  • CrazyTerry

    The defense got them in that hole in the first place. Of the 17 points, only 7 came via turnover. Still it would be nice if the D could have forced a FG instead of a TD if they were truly good. First three chicago drives 17 points. That’s not good even if one came on a short field. Chicago just had no urgency in between. Once Steelers came close, the D folded again.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    I’m guessing the tackle rotation was set prior to the game and by saying “They hadn’t played well enough to justify otherwise” Tomlin was probably talking about the first 2 games, the preseason, and practice.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    When camera was focused on Gilbert when he got to sideline, instead of looking frustrated (Gilbert have been very expressive with his body language in past) Gilbert was panting and winching to his knees. Maybe THAT was him being upset, haha but considering the situation, YOU would think the coach will know when your offensive tackle is doing good or bad.. I mean you don’t bench your best or second best O-lineman of the night especially against the Bears.

    Again I’m just basing this… admittly this go back to training camp when Gilbert got gassed from running. Against Bears D-linemen, if I’m 330 lbs O-lineman with mediocre footworks and doing my best, i’d be gassed too.

    Just a guess honestly.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Agree! That’s been the problem with Tomlin. Not only todd haley is pretty bad, but Tomlin is well, clueless when it come to offense. So we don’t quite have somebody who can take over the issue.

  • Kareem Daniels

    The defense gave up 258 yards. Most of which came on 3 plays. Outside of the 2 run Forte averaged 2 yards a carry. On the 2 passes, Ike had good coverage and Shamarko had even better coverage. Cutler made 2 great passes. Bennet made a spectacular catch. Cutler was under constant pressure.

  • NW86

    Although he replied to me, I’m going to assume he’s referring to Ghostrider’s comment as the asinine one.

  • Dan

    I wonder if we might do better to get a more experienced FA rather than draft another rookie at Tackle. However, if we do decide to draft one we may get a pretty high pick. At this point we’re in a six way tie for the number one overall pick….I think based on s.o.s. we’re at about number four. 🙂

  • TheBlitz

    During his press conference Tomlin gave a possible clue indicating why some of these guys were benched. I believe he talked about huge number of snaps on offense.

    Because fatigue could lead to both physical and mental mistakes, Tomlin spared his tackles by giving an opportunity to Beachum. Also, he possibly was also hoping that in the meantime the move could possibly light up both Gilbert and Adams.

    Let’s remember that these young guys were playing against absolute beasts in likes of Julius Peppers. As a unit they were not great but there were some improvements. They will get better. But until then, it will be painful to watch at times.

    How about maybe Ben starts to release the ball quicker with short passes to help his young OL ?

  • Christopher Wilkes

    This incident might not be significant in the grand scheme of things, but I think it follows a trend of rather poor coaching decisions and personnel moves. I’m not a Tomlin and Haley basher, because quite frankly who would we ever replace them with, but this crap is just amateur in my opinion. I am embarrassed. Gilbert was removed for not making a mistake. There was nothing to base that decision on. If it was because of past performance then why didn’t Beachum start the game, and if you’re going to make the move based on the current game then why didn’t Adams get yanked immediately? I’m just completely baffled.

  • Bill Eltringham

    I have no problem with getting Beach reps. Keep the rust off him cause they’ll need him.

  • Trey Brooks

    I think tomlin is mad at the whole team and just took it out on gilbert.

  • bgsteelfan

    I think, just like in other cases, it’s a matter of misdirected anger.

  • Mike Carroll

    Bingo, agree on all points. The poor defensive effort in the first quarter was largely ignored due to the turnovers that followed.

  • Bruce Warren

    Adams is, was, still the worst of the OL and will continue to be. Still has to have help from the TE, even if he just brushes Adams guy to slow him down on almost every down. Don’t believe me set your DVR and watch the line play only. Not the whole problem with the O by far but the TE losing a step in their route running throws everything out of sync.

  • Jack Gardner

    After wondering why we have played below the line last season and into this season, I figured it out! Sure injuries and terrible offensive play calling (Haley) but listen to this
    our 2012 draft is the biggy for our team.
    1st round- David Decastro ( Good pick)
    2nd round- Mike Adams (worst offensive tackle in NFL)
    3rd round- sean spence (injury)
    4th- Ta’amu (not with team)
    5th- Rainy ( problems with the law_
    7th- Clemons (sunk), Paulsen ( developing ), Beachum (good pick)

  • Curtis

    93.7 the fan pittsburgh running wild with this story for about 2 weeks going back to 2008. Haley’s not to blame when he calls the play into Ben and Ben thinks he seeinh something that’s not there and he checks out of the play sent into him.

  • alex

    maybe its to provide a little motivation to the starting 5…

    if Beachum is the backup ‘everything’, then the precedence has been set…

    if you cant handle it, then move over and let somebody with a drive to succeed show you how its done!

  • Curtis

    Dude you hit it spot on and if everyone remember the breakdown of Cutler he’s getting rid of the ball in like 1.25 to 1.75 seconds so our defense couldn’t get to him because how fast the ball was coming out of his hands in results he marched the ball down field and he didn’t get hit 1 time on those drives. Ben keeps referring to himself of needing to take better care of the ball he probably should run the play being called and quit checking out of the plays and trying to hit a homerun at every at bat. The dink and dunk does work, but you have to be willing to do it.

  • MC

    I’m not a fan of pulling players like that, especially when they aren’t playing all that bad. I got pulled from a game in my rookie season for missing a tackle and i lost confidence for the rest of the game cause i was too concerned with not messing up again. I hope Tomlin’s decisions doesn’t lead to these guys losing their rhythm or confidence.
    The middle of the line lacked communication on Sunday. I really think we should be seeing more check downs to backs when they bring the heat, or how about some RB screens instead of WR screens all the time?
    How come we’ve only seen a WR reverse twice this year (one from Cotchery that shouldn’t of been called) or no wheel routes from Will Johnson?

  • MC

    I;m not a fan of how little we’ve heard from this Bicknell when it’s clearly his unit that is bringing this offense down.

  • Curtis

    our offensive gave up 23 points on turnovers 14 in returns cant fault D teams are gonna score. Did you see the recap they had on cutler getting ball out of hand in less than 1.7 seconds no defense is gonna stop that. I tell what stuck out in my mind is forte got loose and running down sideline and William gay following him 20yards trying to pop ball out and then falling and he then getting another 10 yards instead of just making to tackle.

  • Fr33th1nk3r

    But the Bears were repeatedly given short fields thanks to miscues and failures by our offense. We helped put 17 points on the board for the Bears, either directly or indirectly by virtue of great field position off of a turnover.

    One of these days, the defense is going to get sick of carrying the team and get into a brawl with the offensive players.

  • charles

    You and another above referred to Cutler getting rid of the ball quickly. That takes anticipation from the qb. A smart defense will sit on that and pick 6 it. Little surprised that Lake did not have his men ready for that. A prime example of this defensive patience is what NO did to Manning in a recent SB.

  • CrazyTerry

    Consdiering they still cant generate a turnover, giving up 20 points is too much in a must win game. Chicago clearly went to a predictable clock killing offense in the middle of the game. Once the score got close, the D couldnt make a stop. So the 258 yards is not relevant to me. The fact that they couldnt stop Chicago from scoring on 3 consecutive drives(admittedly one from the middle of their own half of the field) to open the game is bad enough for me.

  • CrazyTerry

    bad field position was only there in one of the first three scoring drives that put us in a 17-0 hole.

  • CrazyTerry

    If he is getting the ball off that fast, then the D should adjust and try to tip balls, put more guys in tighter coverage. THe fact is this D still does not hae a turnover.