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Steelers G David DeCastro Shows First-Round Pedigree In Win Over Ravens


Pittsburgh Steelers right guard David DeCastro made his ninth career start Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens and it was by far the best game of his young career. Below is a look at five running plays from that game in which DeCastro showed why the Steelers drafted him in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

This first play took place during the Steelers opening possession on second down and nine. DeCastro has linebacker Daryl Smith turned out like he is supposed to and holds the block for nearly four seconds. His ability to hold the block provided running back Le'Veon Bell a cutback lane the culminated in an 8-yard gain.

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During the Steelers next possession, they run a misdirection wham play to the right. DeCastro gets his inside Ravens defensive tackle Arthur Jones and carries him way out of the lane as Bell goes for another 11 yards.

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This next play took place in the second quarter and it is the old 34 lead draw. At the snap, DeCastro bangs left into the midsection of Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata before releasing to the second level to wall off linebacker Jameel MccLain. DeCastro is not done, however, as he plays through the whistle and gets yet another shot on McLain as Bell is going down. That was a fine piece of blocking.

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While this play might not look like much as it only gained three yards, it happened on third down and two from the Steelers own 17 yard-line. The play is a counter trap to the left and DeCastro pulls at the snap of the ball looking for Smith. Smith decides to take on DeCastro by leading with his right shoulder and the Steelers guard makes him pay for it by walling him off and it results in a first down by running back Felix Jones.

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This next play was run out of the wildcat and once again DeCastro bangs left on Ngata at the snap. Watch how far he moves him. DeCastro is then off to the second level once again and he squares up perfectly on McLain.

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I couldn't resist putting this fourth quarter play in here as DeCastro drives Jones way outside of the hashmarks and it allows Bell the opportunity to introduce himself to Ravens safety James Ihedigbo. DeCastro plays through the whistle once again in order to make sure the Steelers running back falls forward for the extra half yard or so.

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Was DeCastro perfect in this game? Absolutely not, but he looked every bit like a first-round guard and it was easily the best game of his young career.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • kakello34

    Wow, I thought I was watching Faneca. Nice blocking!

  • joed32

    Thanks for the clips, good stuff!

  • T R

    Good Job on this Dave.. i bet you didnt need no red bull to keep you up and excited looking at these… DeCastro was going all out in these plays again good run defense.. i hope he can murder raiders this week and New England depleted Defense line.. without vince wilfolk.. not looking ahead of raiders by no means. but these next two wins would be pivotal..

  • JAMESH

    In the fourth GIF from the top, watch the head-fake right by Will Johnson which makes Arthur Brown #59 lean left and ultimately late to the tackle. Also, Kelvin Beachum does a very nice job here.

  • JAMESH

    No coffee yet. I meant LeVeon Bell, not Will Johnson.

  • JAMESH

    Mike Adams, TE left of LT in GIFs 2 and 3, not so good. Mike Adams, RT in GIF 5, smothers Arthur Jones.

  • steeltown

    He’s a good one.

    I think people sometimes forget that he missed a lot of time last year and is just now getting good in-game experience. Only nine career starts for this guy, he’ll only get better, which is exciting

  • moderatelysane

    Great piece Dave. I was thinking the same thing during this game–that Decastro is now playing like the guard that we (and I recall you) were goofily ecstatic to see fall to the Steelers. He’s really coming into his own as a potential probowler after nine starts. Notice also on the 3rd and 2 that Heath is still struggling to hold his blocks, resulting in the hole closing down on Bell. Could have been a big gain if that hole stays open.

    The other thing clear from these gifs is how good Bell is. His vision and quick decision making with light feet is really fun to watch. This guy could be something special.

  • moderatelysane

    Notice also on the 2nd and 3rd gifs that Mike Adams just gets used by Elvis and Terrell. He just doesn’t have it.

  • JAMESH

    Whereas I mentioned above, in GIF 5 as RT, he smothers Arthur Jones.

  • Shawn S.

    No coincidence that Bell’s highlight clips are also DeCastro’s highlight clips. One clears the path and the other hits it. Its a thing of beauty. If they keep this up, I won’t know whose jersey to go buy. (Great piece, Dave.)

  • Shawn S.

    And I love seeing him knock Ngata sideways 3 feet. That was awesome.

  • dennisdoubleday

    I don’t see anything wrong with 2 and 3; his man was taken totally out of the play on both.

  • dennisdoubleday

    He directed them away from the play. They were nowhere near it. Am I looking at the wrong ones?

  • Ahmad

    The main thing I like about DeCastro is that he plays through the whistle. It doesn’t matter if he wins or loses on his assignment. He somehow manages to get down field to either help push the RB for extra yards or find someone else to block. It’s a beauty to watch.

  • dgh57

    What’s scary about it is it’s only his 9th start and it’s just what this OL needs!

  • cencalsteeler

    Gif 1 love Velasco taking out the trash!! It seems like the ZBS is putting the defense on roller skates. They are pushing the entire line backwards a yard or two. This line is starting to take shape, I love it!! And I can’t say enough about Will Johnson, this guy is quietly doing one hell of a job. DeCastro is developing into a pro bowl type guard. With no disrespect to the others, Velasco and DeCastro stand out to me as really finishing out their play.

  • AndyR34

    No…ms either doesn’t understand the game or is blinded by hate for Adams.

  • moderatelysane

    I’m neither. Watch the 2nd clip. Adams initially engages Dumervil but doesn’t have good balance. Dumervil then takes advantage of Adams’ poor balance and throws him past, leaving Dumervil clear to head to the play. That doesn’t look like a designed redirection. It looks more like a play where his assignment was to seal dumervil out of the play.

  • AndyR34

    Interesting critique on Miller? On the other FIVE gifs, Heath completely walls off his man who doesn’t participate in the tackle at all. In the one you cite, Heath stands Suggs up giving Bell just enough to get the extra yard needed. Even though the play was designed to go and get a first down in that hole, if Bell had cut outside it could have been deemed a great block. Now Suggs is a Pro-Bowl OLB, but I guess your expectations are that Heath should win every battle overwhelmingly…otherwise they are “struggling”. IMHO, I think our analyes and critiques of players ought to be little more circumspect and that we use our critical thinking skills rather than our emotional hopes and unreasonable (IMO) expectations.

  • steeltown

    Agreed. If they get Will Johnson locked up long term, I may have to get his jersey

  • chris ward

    Decastro has played great the last 4 games and continues to get better every week.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Decastro just keeps better and bettter each game. Arthur Jones looked like he was on skates on the last gif.

  • JAMESH

    I like Will Johnson, too……. but his attempted block of Suggs in GIF 2 is pretty lame.

  • PA2AK

    Game experience is the biggest downfall of our OL. Not sure what to say about Adams or Gilbert, but DeCastro is certainly making good use of REAL football snaps.

  • PA2AK

    and when have we ever seen a Steelers OL move Ngata as shown in the 4th gif.?!

  • PA2AK

    disagree. Those are good blocks. only reason D was good to head into that play is how long it lasted. Also, considering who we are talking about Adams v. Dumervil…you’d be hard pressed to legitimately consider those failures by Adams. I’m sure there were plenty of other plays to criticize him…but these gifs don’t show em. And he is clearly better on the right than he is on the left.

  • Virdin Barzey

    Thought the same thing. He going to be okay. Love the attitude he plays with and he’s only going to get better. We need a few more like him.

  • PA2AK

    I was saying this on Sunday. VERY nice to see an OL putting on some legal hits down the field and moving his teammate forward.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Hard to just Gilbert on this game since he was injured but so far he’s been good. I believe Dave said he’s been grading out well on PFF. Seems like he and Adams are pretty much the same RT. Adams just struggles mightily when he plays LT. It was interesting that they been giving Beach help on the left side while they just left Adams out there with no help! Honestly Adams needs to hit the weights and work on the footwork and he’ll be okay. Excited about the interior of the line they seem to be improving game by game.

  • Douglas Andrews

    It’s been awhile for sure. We gotta find a way to lock up Velasco .

  • PA2AK

    Could be done. Move Pouncey to the LG spot. We’ll see how Velasco looks by the end of the year. He might make it a very difficult decision to keep paying MP that much money.

  • PA2AK

    I agree. I like Adams better on the right side, but whoever is manning the left (especially against solid pass rushers) needs help. Need to remember neither of those guys have much experience. Probably the most critical position to have experience is the OL. I don’t think you bail on those guys at all. Just need some time…we just don’t have it this year.

  • cencalsteeler

    Lame is a bit harsh if you ask me. He had to go down the line in front of Le’Veon then back up field to attempt to block Suggs. The effort was there. Maybe the play design should be to motion Johnson and hike the ball after he clears the center giving him more time to get to his assignment.

  • PA2AK

    or let the FB start out of the backfield like FB’s usually do.

  • Dr. Doom

    Way to get after it 66.

  • Steeler Goetz

    I disagree, too. In clip 2, the only way Dumervil could’ve been effective on that play was if he got inside Adams, who positioned himself nicely to keep Dumervil to his outside, which kept him completely out of the play. In clip 3 Dumervil beats Adams speed-wise but has to go so far outside of Adams that he doesn’t have time to get anywhere near the play. Dumervil had the same exact effect on both plays as he would’ve had he just sat on the sidelines. How do you criticize a guy for that?

  • Douglas Andrews

    We got Pounce for another year so I say try him at G and lock up Velasco then we got our interior O Line

  • Douglas Andrews

    Agreed and hence the move to Beachum at LT with chips. I like Adams i think he has a future he really needs more time if he’s gonna play LT in the NFL. Hopefully another training camp and some competition will do the trick

  • 2winz

    wow while DeCastro did a great job, the blocks by Heath Miller.. The guy looks like an extra lineman out there! BEEEEAAAAAST MILLER!!

  • Chris Ranieri

    I love these GIF clips…so much

  • Jeff Bruder

    “9 games… what took so long?” – Yinzers

  • Lamarr56

    Damn DeCastro did a damn good job all around. I especially like how he got to the 2nd level so well. Blocking those linebackers are key when trying to open big wholes for the running backs.

  • Rubem Dornas

    If all those gifs were about great playings of Will Johnson, one would have to agree. What a great player this kid is!

  • moderatelysane

    Andy, you have too much time on your hands if you have the desire to critique my comments. I’ll stand by my observations of Heath and Adams in the gifs. How Heath did on some other play is irrelevant to what he did in that play, which is the subject of my comment. And call me old school, but a) “he’s playing against a tough opponent so he doesn’t have to win” or b) “his screwup was irrelevant because the play worked” are lame arguments. You don’t get a free pass in life because it’s a tough job, and one of the times that you do a crappy job it will matter. For reference, listen to the Dave’s discuss the clock management bungles at the end of the game.

  • moderatelysane

    My comments were about performance on a given play, not overall body of work. Overall body of work for Adams is that he has no business protecting Ben’s backside and probably never will. Overall body of work on Heath is that he’s back to form in receiving but still working his way back in the blocking department, which is to be expected.

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