By Matthew Marczi
Although his run blocking isn’t always up to par, right tackle Marcus Gilbert is typically able to get the job done in pass protection, with a few lapses here and there. This year, it was the opening day game to the Tennessee Titans, and then later to the New England Patriots, when he gave up a pair of sacks in each.
In between those stints, though, and since that New England game, Gilbert has by and large held his own and helped keep his quarterback clean.
In fact, he hasn’t even allowed a hit on Ben Roethlisberger over the course of the past three weeks. While he allowed a couple pressures against the dangerous pass rush of the Baltimore Ravens, he did a more than respectable job overall.
On this third and two play, for example, he got in front of a shovel pass to block down field for the conversion.
He did a great job of getting out in front of this play boxing out Arthur Jones down the field, even though the not-so-fleet-of-foot Jerricho Cotchery was dragged down by Elvis Dumervil after just a short gain.
The Steelers as a team did a nice job of consistently showing the Ravens different looks as far as how the blocking scheme developed. On the play before this one, Roethlisberger threw a short pass, which allowed Gilbert to attack Dumervil and fight him up the arc.
This time, Heath Miller chipped Dumervil on a play that allowed Roethlisberger to hang on to the ball before finding somebody. Dumervil was already out of the play before he was ever even in it thanks to the way that Gilbert and the Steelers played him, even though there were about five seconds between the snap and the throw.
Although this pass ended up incomplete, it is a good example of how Gilbert can handle even speed rushers when he’s properly motivated. Gilbert was left on Dumervil one-on-one and the pass rusher never even sniffed the pocket, despite another very long drop back, this one about six seconds.
Gilbert’s first step was quick and clean, getting out in front of Dumervil and allowing him to mirror. He withstood the bull rush and continued to mirror. Once he realized the ball wasn’t out yet when it should have been, he just got right back to work on Dumervil, neutralizing his spin move and just doing a good job of keeping his frame in front of the pass rusher. More importantly, he kept his body between the pass rusher and the passer.