Marcus Gilbert Finds A Way To Get It Done

By Matthew Marczi

It is no secret that Pittsburgh Steelers right tackle Marcus Gilbert has often felt the ire of the team’s fan base for a perceived lack of fire or passion, suggesting perhaps that he lacks the proper motivation or disposition for the sport.

Of course, there are plenty of examples on tape to the contrary, but in general, Gilbert does seem to play a fairly soft game. More often than not, however, he manages to get the job done, as the following examples show.

In the first quarter, of the team’s second offensive drive. The Steelers line up Markus Wheaton in the backfield next to Ben Roethlisberger, who then motions him to the line, which gets the defense reacting to that side.


Marcus Gilbert will never be accused of being the most nimble or graceful man in the world. However, he does a fine job of getting out in front of what is eventually a wide receiver screen, with Gilbert and Heath Miller the lead blockers. Chad Greenway is his assignment, and he reaches him just fine. He just gives him a poke to the chest with his left hand, but it is enough to free Wheaton for the first down. It was closer to a belly rub than a punch, but it got the job done. Results concern me more than execution.

Later in the third quarter are a couple of running plays that are worth taking a look at.


In this instance, it is first and ten, and the ball goes to Le’Veon Bell. Although defensive end Brian Robison may overall have had the upper hand in the passing game battle, gaining perhaps a half dozen or so soft pressures against Gilbert, the right tackle held his own against him in the running game, and this play is an example.

Although David DeCastro is initially knocked off balance, he quickly recovers, and he and Gilbert are able to open a big cutback lane for Bell, who takes advantage of the opportunity for five yards. Gilbert makes sure that Robison does not factor into the slow-developing play by holding, which is evidently disguised enough to not be called.

Later on the next drive, Gilbert is out on the second level blocking linebacker Erin Henderson. He first chips the defensive tackle before occupying the linebacker.


Jonathan Dwyer is able to gain seven on the play, and perhaps it could have gone for more with better blocking from the wide receivers.

About the Author

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

    Gilbert did a good job on these 3 plays.

  • cencalsteeler

    Matt. Your last sentence is point on and it just aggravates the living *&%$ out of me. The gifs you guys put together are awesome. The down side to seeing these gifs are seeing all of the bad things that go along with the good.
    We are witnessing athletes that are being paid millions of dollars and coaches that are being paid millions of dollars to coach these guys. Yet, it seems almost every gif there are players not playing to the end of the whistle. In turn, a play that could have gone for a nice gain, results in a shortened one. Pop Warner teaches play through the whistle. High School and College play is taught to play to the whistle. Why is this not taught at this level with the Steelers? This appears to me to be lazy football and a lack of fundamental coaching.

  • Intropy

    It’s not always smart to play to the whistle. You want Ben to run out and block after the handoff? No, he’ll get hurt accomplishing nothing. You want Jerricho Cotchery to chase the play when the ball is handed off and run the other way? That’ll get him tired serving no purpose. I don’t see players dogging it in these pictures. The closest to being in the play and not playing is linemen on the backside of a run once the hole has been selected, but those guys would have to work through a lot of traffic (read, legs to fall on or over) to get in a blocking position.

    Players at every level are told to play to the whistle so they don’t give up when they could make a difference and so they aren’t hurt by being caught unawares. But the reality of truly playing to the whistle in all circumstances is optimizing for that one single play’s effectiveness. I expect professionals to play smarter than that.

    The poor WR blocking in the last play isn’t them taking a play off. They got plain beat.

  • cencalsteeler

    I encourage you to go back and look at more than just the gifs in this particular article.

  • Intropy

    Asking any Steeler fan to go back and look at these games has to be some sort of human rights violation.

  • cencalsteeler

    You made me laugh, good one!

  • Matthew Marczi

    Sometimes it feels like going into the wreckage of a plane crash to try to determine what went wrong.

  • Dr. Doom

    Thanks for the post, interesting.

  • Dan

    And often playing to the whistle will get you an unsportsman like conduct penalty these days. It’s more like play until the offensive player is somewhere near the sideline or begins to contemplate a slide.
    But the original point that these multi-million dollar athletes are not playing fundamental football, which being coached by multi-million dollar coaches, is still true.

  • AndyR34

    I am not sure that it was exactly poor blocking by the WR’s. If you look closely…you have two WR’s trying to block three DB’s. Looks to me like a scheme problem.

  • dgh57

    Looks like on that Bell run he wanted to cut back to his left but Adams/Miller didn’t have their men contained or that would’ve been for a big gain.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Keen eye.

  • John Williams

    What about the other 45?