Marcus Gilbert In The Running Game Versus The Browns

By Matthew Marczi

Pittsburgh Steelers right tackle Marcus Gilbert had his struggles in pass protection in the season finale against the Cleveland Browns, but he had a better day run blocking.

He was far from perfect, of course—he was lost on Le’Veon Bell’s touchdown run and allowed Billy Winn penetration as a result—but overall he made some noteworthy positive contributions.

For example, the Steelers faced a third and one situation early in the game, for which they brought in

Jonathan Dwyer. Gilbert helped make it happen with some strong push against Ahtyba Rubin.

Gilbert was also instrumental in Bell’s 15-yard carry early in the second quarter. Gilbert first chipped on Rubin along with David DeCastro before peeling off and sealing D’Qwell Jackson out of the alley, allowing Bell to get out into open space behind the block for a first down run and more.

The following play wasn’t overly successful in terms of the end result of the play, but Gilbert once again did a nice job on Rubin. Heath Miller lost the handle on his block and allowed Bell to be tackle from behind.

This five-yard carry early in the fourth quarter started out looking like it was doomed to be a busted play, in part thanks to DeCastro struggling to handle his block one on one, but Bell and Gilbert helped turn it into a positive play.

Bell first looked to go off DeCastro’s right side, but realized that once Gilbert moved up to the second level Rubin would be able to get free. Instead, he tried to go off DeCastro’s left, but the defensive lineman was able to adjust.

Eventually, Bell was forced to spin out of contact and back around to his right and through the original hole the play was designed to take advantage of: the B Gap between DeCastro and Gilbert.

With Gilbert clearing traffic at the second level and keeping the Browns out of the way, Bell was allowed to finally find his way into a bit of daylight after spinning out of contact—Gilbert essentially kept an escape route open for Bell.

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

    Man, just goes to show how good Bell is!

    Gilbert is so inconsistent. He seems to need help on every play with blocking. DeCastro some too. The holes are not the ones by design and Bell finds a way to make positive yards.

    I really hope we can find someone for the RT slot before next season.

    Go Stillers!

  • dgh57

    Gilbert played and started all 16 games this past season which is more than I had expected and so I’m just hoping he’s learning something from all the experience he’s getting so maybe this is the first sign of that. Still I have my doubts he is the long term solution to the RT position because I feel he needs to get more consistent in his play and stronger.

  • srdan

    Inconsistency is a product of immaturity. Him and adams have good technique 40% of the time. They have to get more consistent.

  • HopalongCassidy

    To me it seems like Gilbert plays like he is skating on ice a lot of the time, more so in pass blocking. As far as run blocking both he and Foster seem to get too upright and lose leverage. I wish they could bend at the waist a little better and get lower. DeCastro does a much better job in that regard. Perhaps a new line coach can fix this and then the run blocking will be much improved.

  • Intropy

    On that last one you say it was almost a busted play because DeCastro couldn’t handle his man one on one. But it looks like he and Gilbert double the end and Gilbert slides off that block to the next level. If Bell follows Foster’s pull and cuts between him and Gilbert there appears to be a lot of room.

  • MC

    With the steelers cap situation and numerous holes to fill on defense, do you think we sign Gilbert cheap and and just settle with his inconsistent play for a few more years?
    I really hope Mike Adams can take a step forward, nothing would help this team more than him solidifying himself as a useful cog of the o line.

  • Steve

    Adams is worst than Gilbert, that is why he lost his job to Beachum after numerous screw ups. Wishful thinking that Adams gets better but I wouldn’t bet on it.

  • MC

    As we speak you are right however I just feel Adams has a lil more potential than gilbert. He is two years younger and missed last camp cause of the stabbing.
    I think physically he is more equipped to be a tackle than Gilbert although mentally he leaves a lot to be desired. Gilbert I feel has reached his ceiling while Adams still has more to show us.
    Certainly wishful thinking though.

  • joed32

    Adams missed a lot of off season work while recovering from his stab wound. I don’t know if that was a factor or not but he should at least be a lot stronger next year.