In With A Whimper, Out With A Bang

By Matthew Marczi

Nobody was a fan, on record, of the Pittsburgh Steelers signing Guy Whimper as a veteran presence on a very young offensive line this offseason. Not many took any positives out of his performance during the preseason games. Most only begrudgingly included him by default as the 53rd player to make the 53-man roster on their mocks. Those same people ate a lot of crow this week, courtesy of Abdullah the Butcher.

By any standard, Guy Whimper’s performance as an in-game injury substitute—while battling an injury of his own—was impressive relative to expectations, as he helped block the offensive line to their best and most consistent performance of the year. And by no means was he a quiet contributor to that fact; he held his own just fine.

All told, Whimper played 48 of the Steelers’ 59 offensive snaps. Marcus Gilbert left after eight plays, and Mike Adams was forced to fill in for Whimper in the third quarter for three plays when he himself was forced out of the game with an injury. His first snap in the game came on Le’Veon Bell’s first carry out of the Wildcat formation.

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That play came on third and short, and Whimper’s backside block on defensive end Chris Canty helped clear the path to the left (behind David DeCastro and Will Johnson) for the first down. He also helped the Steelers finish off the drive in the end zone.

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After first helping DeCastro clear out Marcus Spears on Ben Roethlisberger’s shovel pass to Heath Miller, Whimper then proceeded to knock linebacker Daryl Smith out of the running lane, providing a seal that helped secure a wide open alley for Miller to cross the goal line virtually untouched.

Perhaps most impressive about his performance, however, was how he was able to fairly consistently handle the speed rush of Elvis Dumervil, who uses his quick break off the ball to beat tackles to the edge. While Whimper did not win every battle, he did win the war, as he did on this play, harmlessly navigating the dangerous pass rusher up the arc and out of the play.

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Finally, Whimper gets a chance to showcase his ability to turn a man out of a hole. Granted, in this case, it is Smith, an inside linebacker whose specialty is coverage.

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Whimper starts off working a double team with Adams to knock Arthur Brown off-balance before moving on to push Smith out of the way. In fact, had DeCastro gotten to Jameel McClain a bit quicker on this play, it could have gone for a big gain for Felix Jones instead of merely a first down. Credit where it is due, however; McClain made a nice play, and Jones also got leg-whipped by Courtney Upshaw prior to that hit.

Overall, knowing what we thought we knew about this player coming into the game, it would be disingenuous to describe this performance as anything short of encouraging. He came in with a whimper, but he left with a bang, and from the dust emerged Abdullah. Let’s hope he keeps his steel sharpened for the next time he is called into battle.

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

    That goal line play is awesome, he seemingly blocks two different guys in a matter of seconds

  • Jonathon Bert Schade

    It remains a mystery to me how castoffs can outplay highly regarded youngsters. The Steelers need to recycle more guys like Whimper and Velasco; maybe they could find a pass rusher in the “free to a good home” box?

  • RW

    Consistency will be the ultimate judge in this case. For now, I’ll admit that he played very well. As Tomlin would say, we don’t yet have an entire body of work to look at.

  • chris ward

    Whimper looked like a completely different player than what he looked like in the preseason.

  • cencalsteeler

    Impressed with how he easily turns his opponent and goes to the next level to pick up the backers. If his play continues like it did against the Ravens, I’ll be the first to get into the Whimper apology line!

  • dgh57

    Whimper played against lesser talent in the preseason and played poorly and now against the Ravens #1 starters he plays pretty good. Not sure what to make of that. I would like to think it was because he himself was playing next to 3td stringers and that’s enough to make anyone not play so good. He has at least at this stage built up my confidence in him as a backup OL and that’s what matters. Next up is showing some consistency with that good play from last Sunday.

  • Afrazier9

    yeah i feel like we need to see if he keeps it up. The o-line seems to be coming together a little in each game. Lets see how the do against the raiders. GO STEELERS GO

  • PA2AK

    A combination of new OL coach, newer offensive scheme, inexperience, injuries, spotty coaching in general, losing a captain, turnovers by skill positions, unwillingness to give the tackles any sort of help in protection….they all contribute to the poor play demonstrated by the young guys. Not giving them a pass at all, but I think their personal shortcomings aren’t as bad as they may seem. When you bring in a Veteran…he can overcome a lot of that stuff…especially when he doesn’t have any expectations hung on his neck.

    could be part of it…could also be me just holding out every ounce of hope that Gilbert and Adams can improve and end up as serviceable starters for a couple years.

  • steeltown

    My thoughts exactly, it would seem he atleast provides some solid depth

  • Jonathon Bert Schade

    I understand that a veteran player may be able to overcome much, but these veterans,(Velasco and Whimper) were truly on the scrap heap, weren’t they? And Gilbert and Adams were playing at perennially contending schools, weren’t they? Adams has looked at times as though he was playing a different, unknown sport. I, too still have hopes for them, but hope begins to fade. Your point about the new OL coach is dead on; Coach Kugler was doing it with smoke and mirrors the past few years and perhaps the Steelers should have made a more serious attempt to keep him here.

  • Mike.H

    Ipod headphones playing ” Thrift shop, $20 dollar in my pocket” probably helped Whimper.

    Perhaps motivation of Steelers FO giving him a chance otherwise unemployed as he’s grateful…?

  • Bell Cow

    Maybe the Steelers should just go down the “Rent-A-Linemen” route. They did it with Justin Hartwig before drafting Pouncey they also had success with Flozell Adams. It can take years to develop offensive linemen and I don’t think Big Ben has years to wait around for the young linemen to develop into capable starters.

  • Johnny Loose

    lol I know, he was a mad man on that play

  • Johnny Loose

    Whimper was the butt of every one of my offensive line jokes in the preseason. When it was announced he had entered the game, I honestly thought we were “Dumed”. Good for him, hope he can keep it going.

  • charles

    Bicknell is by all appearences doing a stand up job.

  • HopalongCassidy

    The more I have watched replays over the past couple of years, the more I realize just how slow Ramon Foster is and how little oomph he puts into his blocks. He’s just a fat guy who waddles his way in front of people with his arms out. He’s not a blocker. He’s just an body taking up space. Put Pouncey at LG next year. He can move a lot better. Leave Velasco at Center.

  • Bob Loblaw

    I’m trying not to get too excited. The Ravens’ defense hasn’t really been all that intimidating this year.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Foster isnt great but he is reliable. He is always healthy and he allows few sacks.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Whimper had a good game but I will leave it at that. Once he starts stacking good performances then we can talk. He did allow a sack and a few pressures, he isn’t going to the pro bowl by any means but from what we thought we were getting I will take it.

  • dgh57

    The Ravens defense seems average but once you back out the Denver loss not so much. They do have 25 sacks and so they do get after the QB which make Whimper’s day that much better.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    Kudos to Whimper on the job he did against the Ravens, however I would be very leery of him starting a game. Given his performance from the preseason and last year, I would still be very worried of anyone who actually studied his tape and knew his weaknesses.

    Then again, maybe he has watched his film and corrected some of those problems.

  • joed32

    I don’t know if they could have. He went back to his Alma Mater as a coordinator, that’s a big step up towards becoming a head coach someday.

  • joed32

    You’re right, it’s hard to judge players in the second half of pre-season games. I didn’t notice him much at the time but he was playing left guard when I was watching.

  • Bob Loblaw

    Stop trying to get me excited