By Matthew Marczi
Considering the fact that both Marcus Gilbert and Mike Adams are questionable to play today, there is a strong possibility that we will be seeing even more of Guy Whimper.
Although he had a fairly quiet game against the New England Patriots—in the good sense—he did have some issues at guard. The week before, he had to fill in for Ramon Foster at the other guard position until he suffered a hyperextended knee. He looked his best against the Baltimore Ravens, when he had to step in for Gilbert at right tackle.
That is where he will be playing today, should Gilbert be unable to play, and that is worth keeping in mind when viewing the plays below, in which he was tasked to play right guard for David DeCastro.
This was probably Whimper’s worst play of the night, and it led to an interception. Brandon Spikes lined up across him on the line of scrimmage. As he went in for the punch, the linebacker ripped past him and sent him stumbling upfield. Gilbert and Le’Veon Bell were unable to pick Spikes up, which led to a pressure and some happy feet for the quarterback standing in the back of his own end zone, in turn leading to the bad decision to toss one up.
It looked awkward, but this time Whimper was stumbling upfield for a good reason. Here is a rare instance in which the Steelers actually ran the ball on third and three. Heath Miller’s blown block nearly cost the first down, but thanks in part to the block by Whimper on Dont’a Hightower, Bell was able to convert.
Notice how Whimper started the play off pulling to his left. I have no idea if he was supposed to pull and was prevented, had the wrong play, or if he did exactly what he was supposed to. He did push Fernando Velasco upfield, which helped give Bell room, so maybe that was the idea.
Being a natural tackle, Whimper is not used to taking on such large bodies as defensive tackle Joe Vellano. Vellano is no Pro Bowler by any means, but he and the other defensive tackles had some success throughout the game taking Whimper back a few steps. Not so much as to influence the throw (he only allowed two hurries in the game, the first being the interception above), but enough to show that he is probably better suited on the edge.
Here is an instance in which it works out to his advantage, however. Of course, the penetration is deliberate, opening the lane for Bell to take a draw up the middle, which leads to a nine-yard gain on first down backed up near their own end zone. Sometimes you use the defense’s aggressiveness against itself.