A Look At The Pressures Surrendered By Marcus Gilbert Against The Lions

By Matthew Marczi

The Pittsburgh Steelers changed protocol in their game plan last week more than usual in order to combat the Detroit Lions. In part, they used the no huddle and quick-release passes as a way to counteract Detroit’s defensive front of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley.

As a result, the Steelers’ offensive line had their cleanest game of the season in pass protection. Kelvin Beachum in particular had a representative game at left tackle, although his primary competitor was a fourth-round rookie, rather than Ziggy Ansah.

Though he did give up three pressures, Marcus Gilbert also had a nice game in pass protection at right tackle (and I might add a better day in the running game that Beachum).

To that end, let’s take a look at the pressures that he ended up surrendering to see what went wrong on an otherwise clean afternoon.

This one is fairly easy to see. To begin with, he was cautiously lending support to Heath Miller on a block on the defensive end while eyeballing a potential blitzer. As he released the defensive end to pick up the blitzer, he realized that Miller was releasing as well, and as he looked back at the lineman, it was too late to pick up the blitz.

Evidently there was a miscommunication between Gilbert and Miller. Likely, Gilbert didn’t realize that Miller was going to release into a route (which ended up working out, since Ben Roethlisberger tossed him the ball as he was able to get hit and ended up with a 10-yard gain for his troubles).

Here is how the drive that began with the play above culminated. Mind you, this is just one play after the Steelers should have scored a touchdown. As it was, however, Gilbert and David DeCastro surrendering pressure forced a throwaway that resulted in settling for a field goal.

This was a big moment in the game. The Lions were obviously also aware of that, considering they saw it fit to line up Suh on the outside over Gilbert on a third and nine situation with the Steelers deep in their own end following a turnover.

Suh got a good jump off the ball, burying his shoulder into Gilbert’s midsection and getting him moving backward. Gilbert was never able to fully recover, doing the reverse bunny hop back into Roethlisberger’s lap.

Considering the early duress he was under though, I would say that he recovered reasonably well to at least stick with the play, which just barely gave Roethlisberger enough room to get enough zip on the pass to get the chains moving.

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • mem359

    For the 1st gif, I think it shows the problem was on the left side, not the right.

    Felix Jones might have been releasing or he might have been blocking, since he chipped Beachum’s player, but when he moved outside that left a wide gap between LT and LG for 55 to run in unhindered. If Ben wasn’t stepping up to avoid that player, there wouldn’t have been pressure from the right side.

  • Shea Fahr

    “reverse bunny hop” LOL!! I spit some coffee on my lap on that one. Thanks

  • Callentown

    I dunno Dave. I keep hearing that 77 is grading out well. But every time I see him, he seems to be on skates moving quickly backward.

    Is that strength, form, or maybe both?

  • steeltown

    Atleast he stayed on his feet in that last gif.. could’ve been worse, he could’ve fell into Ben’s knees or ankles

  • Carl Eagan

    Gilbert will stay on the right side no matter what because Tomlin likes him. So Ben has accepted that he has to watch that side and hope DeCastro does his usual great blocking.

  • Chad H

    Looks to me like strength training is needed.

  • Callentown

    And maybe stiffer SKATES!!

  • JAMESH

    In casual observation, it seems at RT the Mike Adams of last season is better than the Marcus Gilbert of this season. I guess careful film study proves otherwise?

  • Callentown

    They both feel like backup players to me. Not that they will be used that way. But I don’t think either is good enough to start in the NFL.

    In fact, once we draft a true LT, Beachum might be better on at RT than either of them!

  • Douglas Andrews

    Gilbert has the same problem as Adams. Big guys that don’t use there hands well and don’t bend at the hips. When they do that it usually ends up in them getting walked back to the QB. Quite possibly could also be a lower body strength issue as well.

  • Madi

    For most offensive linemen, every time you see them, they are not playing well. When you aren’t seeing him, he’s playing well.

  • ND_Steel

    I agree, thought Adams was looking pretty good at RT during a good stretch last year. Beachum is the only LT on the roster, and while he’s giving it his best, he’s no Starks. Starks, Flozell Adams, Colon, Faneca were all road graders. None of our linemen are now. I think Adams can be on the right side.

  • Callentown

    Good point Madi, and I tend to agree. Except with Gilbert, anytime you see a lineman being pushed back into the QB as if he is on skates, it seems to be Gilbert.