Film Room: Chris Hubbard Relieved Houston Will Be Marcus Gilbert’s Problem

Chris Hubbard has for the past three weeks been a pretty important figure in the starting lineup for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but barring an unforeseen setback for Marcus Gilbert today, we should see the fourth-year lineman fall back to his reserve position, with some active duty as a tackle-eligible at tight end.

I think I’ve done a film session for him in each of the past four weeks, if I’m not mistaken, but I think it’s important to put backups under the microscope when they’re called into action. His run blocking was an asset last week, but he struggled fairly often in all areas on Sunday.

Let’s start back in the first quarter. On first down from the 17, Hubbard was beaten to the outside with a swim move by Calais Campbell, forcing Ben Roethlisberger to step up in the pocket. With nobody flashing open quickly enough, he had to settle for a one-yard scramble.

Not that it was all bad, all the time. he handled Dante Fowler well early in the second quarter, though the third-down play did not convert. Hubbard got a strong early punch into the former first-round pick’s chest, and when Fowler tried a spin move, the right tackle stayed in front of him.

Hubbard was able to play Fowler’s spin move well again late in the quarter during the two-minute drill as the Steelers were in the red zone, looking to score. This time he broke out the spin as a proactive attack rather than as a counter, but again, Hubbard was able to keep his base and stay out in front.

Late in the third quarter, however, Fowler’s pressure around the edge may have influenced a high pass from Roethlisberger that was defensed and then intercepted. Hubbard probably got away with a hold on this play as well.

Toward the tail end of the third quarter, he nearly single-handedly sabotaged what should have been an easy third-and-one conversion on the ground when Campbell tossed him aside. The veteran defender fooled Hubbard into thinking he was looking to penetrate inside before shoving him upfield. The only thing that saved the play was Le’Veon Bell escaping his tackle attempt.

For a backup right tackle, Hubbard certainly has not had the greatest luck this year in terms of drawing difficult assignments, having faced Everson Griffen, Akiem Hicks, and now Campbell and Fowler. And now Justin Houston awaits Gilbert.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

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

  • Ray Powell

    If Houston plays, he hasn’t practised yet this week.

  • John Noh

    You are not alone, Mother Hubbard. Consider all of us relieved.

  • kev4heels

    Hubbard played like, well…a backup.
    That’s what he is and there is a reason why.
    However, at least he isn’t Mike Adams.

  • walter

    So we have a chance?

  • Thomas

    Pass blocking is what you would expect from a backup but his run blocking is disappointing, I would expect a guy who’s also the backup guard & center to be able to anchor & push guys back with more power.

  • Chris92021

    None of us should crack on Hubbard too much. He is a backup. A solid backup but a backup for good reason. He was pressed into service and made all of realize how valuable Marcus Gilbert is. Hubbard will probably end up serving as the 3rd TE in jumbo formations (I see Foster sitting with his back injury and Finney starting at LG), which Hubbard is good at.

    Having said that, Todd Haley is still a problem that will cost this team a first round bye and a chance to get to the Super Bowl this season.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Yeah, we have to keep in mind that we can’t judge backups as though they are starters (“the standard” being as it may). I thought he did well overall over the past three games, especially considering some of the talent he had to face.

  • Matthew Marczi

    He did well last week. Check out my article from last week: http://www.steelersdepot.com/2017/10/film-room-chris-hubbard-brings-mobility-table/