David DeCastro Shows Improvement On The Move

By Matthew Marczi

Since the moment that the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted David DeCastro in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft, the offensive guard has been given the highest of expectations to live up to from its fanbase. He was off to a fine start after winning the right guard position from Ramon Foster during training camp, but his rookie campaign was derailed by an injury in the preseason.

Since then, it has been nothing but an uphill battle for DeCastro to try to ascend to the level of greatness that is expected of him. He has gone through his struggles both this year and last year. However, while he may not have turned in an All-Pro performance, the game against the Chicago Bears may have been his best yet.

One of his biggest issues since returning to play has been not pulling itself, but actually securing and maintaining his block after pulling. He has no issues with mobility, it was just an issues of being able to stick to his man. But while he did not pull often, he did show some growth on the move in the running game, including an impressive set of back-to-back plays that accumulated a total of 34 yards primarily due to his blocks.

These successive plays occurred late in the second quarter after the Steelers forced a punt. On first and 10 from the 13, DeCastro pulled to his left—the one time that he did so during the game—and cleared Lance Briggs out of the hole, springing Felix Jones for a nice nine-yard gain.

Steelers Bears David DeCastro

It is also worth pointing out that David Johnson did a nice job of assisting Mike Adams in collapsing the right side of the defense, giving Jones the penetration necessary to get through traffic.

The Steelers were in the no huddle at this point, down 24-10, so they lined up again right away, and this time DeCastro pulled to his right, swapping Jones for Jonathan Dwyer. Major Wright came charging in from the secondary, but DeCastro bulled him out of the way.

Steelers Bears David DeCastro

It was more than 20 yards before Dwyer was even touched, thanks primarily to DeCastro’s block. However, it would be a disservice not to mention the fine work that Emmanuel Sanders continues to do as a blocking wide receiver, whose seal of Tim Jennings on the outside was a key contributor to the success of that play.

Of course, DeCastro was not perfect on the night, even on the few times that he pulled during the game. He was on a pull to his right early in the fourth quarter when he completely whiffed on Jon Bostic.

Steelers Bears David DeCastro

To his credit, however, he did not give up on the play. After he saw that Bostic had not made the tackle on Dwyer, he followed his running back down the field where he was stalemated by two defenders, and he barreled his way into the heap of humanity to help push it forward for an extra yard or two.

With DeCastro showing improvements in his ability to pull at the professional level, I am starting to hope that we see it more often, which should also help him get more comfortable doing it.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

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

  • Bell Cow

    Do you think Decastro would be better as a LG?

  • mem359

    There were a few 3rd down plays in the game where the ball carrier was short of the 1st down marker, and DeCastro snuck over and pushed the player to a first down. (The defender had the Steeler wrapped up, so DeCastro pushed both of them forward.) I thought that was good sign of his hustle and thinking, even if he still needs to work on the basics.

  • Ahmad

    On that last play, It looks like Velasco was supposed to block Bostic and DeCastro was to kick out the CB but I can’t be entirely sure. That’s just my interpretation of the play.

  • dkoy85

    I agree. It looks like Decastro is getting ready to run out an pick up the CB and last second saw Bostic… by that time it was too late. But I guess an All-Pro type of play would have picked that up. Still needs some work but I am very excited about him.

  • Matt Manzo

    I’ve just realized the answer to all our problems! Bring Alan Faneca in as OL COACH!!!!

  • Matthew Marczi

    Actually, yeah, you may be right about that. Either way, Velasco seems like he either wasn’t sure of his assignment or thought he couldn’t get to the linebacker in time.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Yeah looks like Valasco was alittle out of synch on that play. But i couldn’t agree more on Decastro on the move. Definitely one of his strengths. I’m still giving our line 2 more games to really gel. Only time will tell but these growing pains eessh!

  • Brendon Glad

    Good analysis. I was extremely hard on DeCastro after game 1, but I won’t apologize for it. He deserved to take extreme heat for the Pouncey play, and that’s what he got. But that’s over.
    And that doesn’t mean I’m not rooting for him. And these clips show some nice work. I loved the draft pick when it happened, and I hope he can be a nice player in one of the guard slots.
    And with that said, I NEVER discount coaching as a factor for the line-failings. There’s probably a reason why Tomlin has already had more O-line coaches in 6.25 years than Cowher had in 15. And Ben deserves some responsibility too, based on the way he prefers to play.
    So for an amateur like me, sometimes it’s difficult to figure out exactly who is at fault on our side (or sometimes even a great play by the opponent, as well).
    You guys do an excellent job of breaking it down, and even if you don’t get an answer from the staff, still are intelligent enough on the Steelers’ Playbook to give logical answers as to what happened on different “failed-plays”. And this was a nice showing of DeCastro looking much more like Alan Faneca, and much less like Tom Rickets. And that’s a good thing.