Pittsburgh Steelers right guard David DeCastro has spent more time in the preseason working next to center Maurkice Pouncey than in the regular season, for reasons that are quite well known.
The two were back in a game for the first time since the regular season opener last year, and both of them played fairly well in limited snaps, particularly DeCastro.
The Steelers seem intent on utilizing the pair’s mobility even more this year, so we saw them on the move a decent amount in the preseason opener, though admittedly it could still use some fine tuning before they get to the regular season.
Like the rest of the starting offensive line—other than Ramon Foster—DeCastro started off the game well with a strong block on defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins on the first play of the game to help spring Le’Veon Bell for nine yards. After he got Jenkins turned, DeCastro attempted to advance up field to find another target to block.
The coaches had him pulling to the left on the next play along with Will Johnson, though the latter didn’t manage to accomplish much. DeCastro did seal linebacker Jacquian Williams and held him out of the play.
On the Steelers’ next drive, DeCastro was left to guard Jenkins on the pass rush, and though he wound up holding a bit, in part because Jenkins turned his body, the lineman stayed on point and in front of the defensive tackle, keeping him out of arm’s reach of the quarterback. Jenkins didn’t really give DeCastro much of a choice when he turned and backed up.
DeCastro’s pulling was not as successful later in the game on one of the first-team offensive line’s final snaps, but he was also going up against Jason Pierre-Paul on this occasion, who is about as physically gifted an athlete as there is in this league.
Both DeCastro and Heath Miller pulled to the left on this LeGarrette Blount carry, and neither were fully successful in accomplishing their tasks. Miller hesitated deciding who to block, and thus didn’t get a proper grip on either one.
DeCastro, meanwhile, got a bit overpowered by the former All-Pro, who used his long arms and great anticipation to counter the pulling guard’s momentum, and then pushed him to the side by his helmet to get past and help bring the back down.