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.