Steelers T Marcus Gilbert Stands To Gain Most From Mike Munchak Hiring

If there’s one Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman that should be ecstatic that Mike Munchak was hired during the offseason, it’s likely tackle Marcus Gilbert.

While he’s nowhere close to being considered a bust since being drafted in the second-round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Steelers, Gilbert certainly hasn’t lived up to expectations just yet. As he enters his fourth season in the league, Munchak will be Gilbert’s third offensive line coach in as many years and by far his best.

2014 also just so happens to be a contract year for Gilbert, who has made 34 starts at right tackle since coming into the league and if Munchak can get the best out of him in his first season as the Steelers offensive line coach, the Florida product’s bank account stands to gain quite a bit as a result.

As a rookie in 2011, Gilbert was thrust into action as a starter when Willie Colon was lost for the year in the season opening loss to the Baltimore Ravens. After a rough three game start to his career that saw him give up four sacks, he only allowed five more over the course of the rest of his rookie season, including the playoffs.

In 2012, Gilbert’s second season in the league got off to a rough start as he was forced from the season-opener against the Denver Broncos with a leg injury. While he managed to return to action the following week, an ankle injury suffered early on in the Week 6 game against the Tennessee Titans wound up sidelining him for the remainder of the season. It should be noted, however, that during those 246 snaps that Gilbert played in 2012, he didn’t allow a sack in 143 pass blocking opportunities, according to Pro Football Focus.

While Gilbert did manage to start all 16 games at right tackle for the Steelers last season, his play was very uneven and it resulted in him giving up 11 sacks. How much of that backside was a result of poor coaching, we will never know, but a quad and ankle injury that resulted in him being listed on the Steelers injury report for seven games from Week 7 and on could have also played a part in his uneven play.

With Munchak now on board and Gilbert presumably back fully healthy again, there’s still a chance that the 26-year-old can be the Steelers starting right tackle beyond this coming season. We’ve seen solid play out of him before and now we just need to see it more consistently. If Munchak can’t get that out of him in 2014, Gilbert will only have himself to blame. Everything is lined up for him to have a career year and a new long-term contract next offseason from the Steelers as a result.

  • Garrett Hunt

    I would say that Mike Adams has the most to gain to avoid the bust label over the next couple years.

  • ApexSteel

    I don’t believe it. Gilbert was bad at everything last season and he was clearly the weak link on the OL. I watched the Cleveland and Cincy games yesterday and he couldn’t even get a push off the line. I’m hoping that Adams can improve enough to take over that right tackle spot.

  • shawn

    Not so sure Dave … If he doesnt drastically improve his play this year he could very well be on the outs next year and i would call that somewhat of a bust … albeit we got a little use out of him …

    How do you go from giving up ZERO sacks to 11 in one year !!! I think it is safe to say that one of our 2nd round Tackles is not going to be with us much longer … not sure which one is going to get kicked to the curb … but the one that does will likely be considered a bust !

  • grw1960

    You Should be right about that Dave.
    Being it is Gilbert’s contract year. His desire to succeed and work ethic should be at its highest level ever. (Something I have had doubts about in the past.)
    So we should find out how high his talent level actually is.


    Gilbert by far is our worst lineman! Adams out performed him last year in camp. I hope for his sake he has a lights out year, if not I say get rid of him as soon as we can.

  • RMSteeler

    Whether he has a great season or a very poor one, this is more likely than not going to be his last with the Steelers. Unless, if he has a great season, he wants to stay and his agent doesn’t want the moon for a new contract.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    It’s really tough to grade anyone on the line from last year. The turnover during the year was crazy and the problems on the left side and early loss of heath left Gilbert with with less help. Instead of Pouncey helping Decastro, who can then help Gilbert, Decastro had to help whoever was playing center and Gilbert had less help than normal on his right and left.

    The middle of 3 coaches in 3 years and one who basically lost his job mid year also means you have to give these guys a pass.

    I think Gilberts biggest concern is Beech. I think Adams will play LT or RT and if Munch can’t get him playing LT Gilbert might spend his walk year on the bench.

    I’m pretty confident Adams starts at LT but it’s interesting that Gilbert future might not even be in his hands.

    I’m excited to see if Munch goes with seniority or gets to create. I could easily see Pouncey as the only player who starts where expected.

  • SteelersDepot

    Did you happen to miss the first four games of the season?


    Actually I saw all of the games, I know that Gilbert started the camp as the starting left tackle but subsequently lost that position to Adams because he was out performed in camp. So he got a get out of jail free card to move over to the right tackle position, which left Adams with the unenviable task of protecting Ben’s Blind Side. I acknowledge that he did perform poorly and got abused byJared Allen. but if you watch the film you’ll realize that most of the breakdowns in our offense was somehow someway attributable to Gilberts poor play. Not really saying that Adams is the answer, but clearly stating that Gilbert is very weak at his position.

  • joed32

    It’s pretty clear that Adams is the better run blocker, if he can teach him to pass block better he should start on the right with Gilbert as the swing tackle.

  • Milliken Steeler

    For some reason, coming off being stabbed and missing time, we stuck Big Mike on the blind side.I’m not ripping on our Steelers, I just think in Mikes case, we mismanaged him, took him out out of his better position R/T and said he was better at L/T than where Gilbert was?

    I can agree Gilbert needed to be replaced at L/T where Beech is now however, I think Adams is the R/T of the future and Gilbert will be probably be gone after this year.

  • joed32

    Not DeCastro or Foster? I think they’re locks.

  • wdhammer

    He stinks !

  • Eric MacLaurin

    It’s possible decastro will switch sides but he’s a lock to start.

    I could see beech take fosters job if Adams takes his.

  • Steelers@2010

    I’m just a fan like everybody else on here, but I see BUST written all over Marcus Gilbert and Mike Adams. Enough of this poor coaching stuff! When will the players have to take ownership for playing bad?

  • joed32

    That’s possible.


    If he continues to miss blocking assignments, I say let him go no matter how low his salary will be!

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    It sure would’ve been nice to have drafted Duane Brown instead of Rashard Mendenhall. It seems our scouting department is really good at finding WRs and LBs but they really struggle at evaluating OTs.

    I hope for the best with Gilbert/Adams but in my opinion the odds are not good for either of them to reach a starting caliber level at left tackle.

  • Does everyone forget the Miami game where Beachum got hurt, Adams came in cold and held his own against their formidable pass rush. Adams was weak from being stabbed, His core strength was simply not there early in the year, Beachum (as much as I like him) will not over achieve forever…


    L to R…… Adams, DeCastro, Pouncey, Beachum, Gilbert….. is a possibility.

  • Matthew Marczi
  • Matthew Marczi
  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Agree. I see Gilbert being a good candidate for RG. In that case, DeCastro should be LG.

  • Big White

    I have no doubt that we will see remarkable progress with Gilbert this season. However, it will not be because of Munchak or any other coach. It will not be because Marcus has matured and is a dedicated player. It will be because its a contract year. In 2015, I fully expect Gilbert to phone it in, get fat, and be and overpaid underproducing salary cap casualty to someone. Hopefully it will not be us.

  • Steelers@2010

    Ok, so what was the problem the year before that? I will give the kid a pass for 2013, he got stabbed because he had his A$$ out in the streets after midnight when the season was about to begin. Looking at his weak upper body frame, he should have been in the gym. I’m curious as to see what all those guys upfront will look like in 2014. Like I said, what excuse will they use next.

  • Steelers@2010

    Yes! Finally a fan out there that see’s the same thing as myself?

  • steeltown

    Gilbert has played admirably for us over the years. Its going to be dogfight this year, I think Gilbert and Adams will both improve under Munch.. I just hope these guys stay healthy

  • Steel PAul

    Seems to reason, if Munchak can help Adams, he would also help Beachum. I say Beachum is the LT next year and beyond.

    Adams best chance is at RT beating out Gilbert in his last year.