An Optimistic View Of Marcus Gilbert’s Four-Game Suspension

On Monday, it was announced that Pittsburgh Steelers starting right tackle Marcus Gilbert has been suspended for the team’s next four games for violating the NFL’s PED policy and while that news is somewhat concerning on the surface, at least he should be back well within time for the start of playoffs. If you are an optimistic person, there is a bright side to the latest news.

For starters, the Steelers have already won quite a few games without Gilbert this season as the tackle as already missed five full games and good parts of two others due to a hamstring injury that he originally suffered in the team’s Week 2 contest against the Minnesota Vikings. In short, while Gilbert’s replacement Chris Hubbard probably isn’t going to the Pro Bowl this year for his play this season at right tackle, he’s been very serviceable just the same.

The four games that Gilbert will miss include the Steelers playing the Green Bay Packers, Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots. The Steelers have already beaten the Bengals and Ravens without Gilbert and thus there’s no reason to think they can’t repeat those accomplishments in Weeks 13 and 14 without him again.

Not having Gilbert this coming Sunday night against the Packers also shouldn’t be a big deal as the Steelers should still be expected to win that game easily without him. That leaves the Steelers Week 15 home game against the Patriots as potentially the one the Steelers might miss Gilbert the most.

Gilbert’s four game suspension will also give the tackle some extra time to make sure his injured hamstring gets fully healed and strengthened. Assuming he returns for the Steelers Week 16 road game against the Houston Texans, Gilbert can then use that contest as well as the regular season finale against the Cleveland Browns to knock whatever rust he might have off in preparation for what we all hope is a very long playoff run.

In the meantime, Hubbard resuming as the Steelers starting right tackle will hopefully give him more opportunities to sharpen his play a little should he ultimately be needed again after Gilbert returns from his suspension.

Keep in mind that while Gilbert is probably currently regarded as one of the NFL”s best right tackles, he’s only played 219 offensive snaps so far this season. In short, the Steelers can win at least three of their next four games without him and possibly all four if the team’s defense can find a way to stop Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

On a final note, Gilbert’s four game suspension now makes it very easy for the Steelers to accommodate rookie cornerback Cameron Sutton on the 53-man roster as a player will not need to be waived for his return from the team’s Reserve/Injured list.

  • The Chin

    That’s all great unless Hubbard goes down.

  • Ace

    Hey there Mr. Brightside. You said it best. Take these 4 weeks, rest up, flush the dope, and get ready for the playoffs. Any chance they take a look at someone else at Tackle over CH? Feiler or Hawkins?

  • SteelersDepot

    zero chance, Hubbard is their guy and he should be.

  • pittfan

    Lemonade out of lemons.

  • John Noh

    Boy, that would suck bad. What would the emergency scenario be? Finney at RT?

  • heath miller

    well thats all fine if hubbard and the rst stay healthy .. BUT hubbard is the insurance policy to the starters so now we basically lost the depth … stupid gilbert..

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    The fly in the ointment is if Hubbard gets Ben killed and Ben is then out long term.

  • SteelersDepot

    Feiler would play RT if Hubbard were to get injured

  • John Noh

    Right. I guess he’ll be getting a hat for the next four games.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    “Killed” is pretty long-term. Let’s hope not.

  • stan

    Hawkins is still around and he’s supposed to be the true heir apparent at tackle. Feiler also played pretty well when he had to come in for Hubbard against Detroit. I don’t think Hubbard is anything special (aside from his versatility).

  • capehouse

    Just remembering Hubbard get thrown around like a rag doll by Ezekiel Ansah against Detroit, which I think was his last start, doesn’t make me feel too optimistic about this, but he’s a pro bowl DE. Who exactly will Hubbard be facing?

  • Jaybird

    This is like Bell missing all preseason- he’ll be very fresh come playoffs. It’s a blessing! Yeah right.

  • gdeuce

    It better not be like Bell missing preseason, it took him 3 weeks to get back in sync with the rest of the offence

  • Jaybird

    It was sarcasm G deuce.

  • lyke skywalker

    He will be healthy and ready to go.

  • Rocksolid20

    Or AV

  • Cletus

    I don’t know why you need to crap on our solid backup with “Chris Hubbard probably isn’t going to the Pro Bowl this year”

  • Ed Smith

    Well that’s trying to make lemonade out of a lemon!

  • Grant Humphrey

    Let’s just hope that never happens lol

  • John Pennington

    Time to draft Gilbert backup.He missed alot of games this season now this the team has to have a good backup in case Gilbert gets hurt againWouldnt hurt to find a backup for Pouncy and Foster also to get ready.

  • #7

    Pro football players take PED’s??? I’m shocked.

  • Av232

    That’s a reasonable take on it. It’s unfortunate, but next man up. The standard is the standard. No excuses.

  • Dan

    New Trai Essex, back in action! Steelers should be fine, as none of the pass rushes coming up are all that threatening. Maybe if Vance is healthy we’ll see him in to help blocking over there?

  • Ace

    Vince Biegel gonna eat Hubbards lunch on sunday

  • Brenton deed

    If you activate Sutton what do you do after the suspension?

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    Well, something like an acl right now just might stick a fork in Ben’s career. Hubbard’s pass pro is what worries me.

  • Steeler4l1f3

    No hope without Hubbard. Goodness, never thought I would say that…

    Let’s all pray that Hawkins has improved. I know the front office likes him.

  • ND_Steel

    Lots will happen in four games.

  • rystorm06

    Playoffs? Don’t talk about playoffs! You kidding me? Playoffs?? I just hope the Steelers can win a game! Another game

  • John Pennington

    Just get Hubbard some help on his side when needed.Draft a true right tackle next year to backup Gilbert.

  • srdan

    people always want to put the cart before the horse

  • srdan

    Why? Hubbard is probably in the top 10% backup tackles in the game. He is more than serviceable. In my opinion he would start for all 3 of the other teams in our division.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Thanks, Dave. I sure hope we don’t need to find any MORE optimism after this one.. but that’s football.

  • SilverSteel

    Yup. Good with run but sketchy on pass. He’s a lot better than I thought he’d be two years ago though. Hats off to Hub.

    Remember when we all dogged him mercilessly?