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Thread: Gilbert earns another chance to start

      
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    Default Gilbert earns another chance to start

    8/26/2011
    Gilbert earns another chance to start
    By F. Dale Lolley, Staff writer dlolley@observer-reporter.com

    PITTSBURGH - One play into the Steelers' 24-14 preseason victory last week against the Philadelphia Eagles, rookie Marcus Gilbert found himself on the field protecting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's blind side after starting left tackle Jonathan Scott suffered a hyperextended knee on the opening play.

    Thirteen plays later, the Steelers reached the end zone for the first time, but Gilbert's night was ended. He also suffered a hyperextended knee, while blocking for Roethlisberger during a 29-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown.

    On Saturday, when the Steelers host the Atlanta Falcons in their third preseason game, Gilbert will probably get a second opportunity to protect Roethlisberger's blind side. Scott is questionable to play.

    Gilbert only hopes this opportunity lasts longer.

    "It's going to feel like a regular season game," said Gilbert, a second-round draft pick out of the University of Florida. "You're going to be out there with the ones the majority of the game."

    Coach Mike Tomlin expects the starters to play into the third quarter against the Falcons in their most extensive action of the preseason.

    For Gilbert, who missed the first week of training camp with a hamstring injury, it's a great chance to gain some important experience.

    "It was kind of tough playing catch-up then getting hurt," Gilbert admitted. "Some of the vets took me under their wings and told me, 'You've got this opportunity in front of you, you've got to take advantage of it.' I've taken it serious like a professional and have gotten better every day."

    Tomlin has noticed.

    "He's been on the up-and-coming since a rocky beginning, like a lot of guys have rocky beginnings," said Tomlin. "He has marched back relatively well, and we are pleased with what we are seeing from him. But it must continue."

    The Steelers, and more specifically Roethlisberger, better hope so. The Falcons will test him.

    "Marcus Gilbert will be given an opportunity against a top-quality player in (Falcons defensive end) John Abraham and others," said Tomlin. "They picked up (defensive end) Ray Edwards in free agency. (Defensive end) Kroy Biermann is a top-quality player. Gilbert and the other tackles are going to be presented with high-quality challenges, which is what you look for this time of year."

    Abraham had 13 sacks last season, and Edwards had eight with Minnesota.

    If Gilbert finds himself struggling, he can look across the huddle to one of his best friends, center Maurkice Pouncey. The two were teammates at Florida and Pouncey went to Tomlin in the time leading up to the draft lobbying for the Steelers to select Gilbert.

    "He's like an older brother to me, even though I'm older," Gilbert said, "He's accomplished the goals he wanted to accomplish. I just have to keep listening to him in the huddle."

    Odds and end zones

    Tomlin listed only cornerback Ike Taylor (broken thumb) as out for Saturday's game. Taylor has returned to practice after breaking the thumb two weeks ago in a preseason game at Washington, but the Steelers are holding him out until the regular season. ... In addition to Scott, cornerbacks Cortez Allen, Bryant McFadden, wide receivers Jerricho Cotchery and Emmanuel Sanders and linebacker Mario Harvey are questionable to play. ... Former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel was at the Steelers' practice facility Thursday and watched practice.

    http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/...lbert-to-start
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    Default Re: Gilbert earns another chance to start

    Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler View Post
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    ... Former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel was at the Steelers' practice facility Thursday and watched practice.
    What is Tressel doing around our program?????????????????????????

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    Default Re: Gilbert earns another chance to start

    Gilbert overcomes bad first impression to make move at LT
    Friday, August 26, 2011
    By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    The Steelers sought the opinion and endorsement of their Pro Bowl center, Maurkice Pouncey, when they selected tackle Marcus Gilbert in the second round of the NFL draft. Pouncey and Gilbert were more than linemates at the University of Florida; they were good friends.

    So, when Gilbert reported to training camp out of shape and injured his hamstring as a result, the Steelers got on Pouncey about his recommendation and leaned on him to light a fire under the 6-foot-6, 340-pound rookie.

    It seems to be working.

    "I told him this is a job and you don't have time to miss camp," Pouncey said. "You have to take advantage of the chances you get."

    Gilbert could get a chance as big as his hulking frame when the Steelers play the Atlanta Falcons Saturday night at Heinz Field. Because of Jonathan Scott's knee injury, Gilbert could start at left tackle and play at least the first half with the rest of the starters-- an opportunity he relishes as he continues to earn back the good graces of the coaching staff.

    "He's been on the come since a rocky beginning," coach Mike Tomlin said Thursday during an afternoon news conference at the team's South Side facility. "He's marched back relatively well, and we're pleased with what we've seen of him. But it must continue."

    The Steelers have liked what they have seen of Gilbert in two preseason games, even though he made only a limited appearance against the Philadelphia Eagles after he replaced Scott and injured his left knee on his first series. That was not the case when he first reported to training camp, admittedly out of shape and performing at a speed that was not acceptable to the coaching staff.

    Even Pouncey acknowledged that Gilbert might have thought he didn't have to work as hard because he was a high draft choice.

    But Gilbert said he got a quick lesson about life in the NFL from his teammates -- that he needs to treat his job with the utmost urgency -- and the epiphany appears to be working.

    "I came in and, first off, we didn't have [offseason training activities] and minicamp, and it was disadvantage for rookies," Gilbert said. "And, secondly, I didn't come in well-prepared and in shape. I didn't come in in the best of shape and I had an injury [hamstring], and it was kind of tough.

    "That taught me a lesson. Now, I have to treat this game and play this game like a real professional out there and follow the veterans' role.

    "A lot of players, especially the older guys in the offensive line room, they take their job really serious. That's what we do. That's our livelihood."

    That attitude adjustment was enough for Pouncey, who is convinced his friend is back on the right track.

    And that is encouraging news for the Steelers, who need depth at offensive tackle, especially if the experiment to use Tony Hills at right guard becomes a permanent move.

    "He's on the come," said Pouncey, who became a starter and a Pro Bowl selection in his rookie season.

    "He just has to keep coming out to practice better and better, and he'll get better from there. He's got some work to do, but he knows the offense. He missed a lot without OTAs and minicamp, but he's doing a great job."

    The Steelers should be able to determine how far Gilbert has progressed against the Falcons, who have two of the top pass-rushing defensive ends in the league -- John Abraham and Ray Edwards, who was signed in free agency from the Minnesota Vikings. Should he start, Gilbert will line up against Abraham, who ranked fifth in the NFL with 13 sacks and was named All-Pro for the third time in 2010.

    "It's a great opportunity ahead of me and all I have to do is take full advantage of it and gain the confidence of my teammates and coaches," Gilbert said. "I'm looking forward to getting an opportunity to play against great pass-rushers and give it all I have. Playing with the first unit is a good opportunity for me to show my ability and help the team win."

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11238...#ixzz1WANbECw6
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    Default Re: Gilbert earns another chance to start

    Tressel was selling OSU jackets "at cost."


    Gilbert, Essex, Dwyer, Alvarez and likely Tabata...how can these young men turn their back on their job responsibilities??

    They are being paid to stay in shape and they make excuses for themselves.

    Too many of them were give too much too easily!
    Last edited by DCBILL; Aug-26-2011 at 03:11 PM.

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    Default Re: Gilbert earns another chance to start

    Quote Originally Posted by DCBILL View Post
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    They are being paid to stay in shape and they make excuses for themselves.
    Completely agree... IMO, there really is no excuse thay can make that is valid...
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    Default Re: Gilbert earns another chance to start

    Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler View Post
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    Former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel was at the Steelers' practice facility Thursday and watched practice.
    FWIW, he was at Browns practice, too. Maybe he's bucking for a gig on NFL Network.
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    Default Re: Gilbert earns another chance to start

    I see Gilbert as the heir apparent to take the LT job at some point in the future. I think he just has that type of talent and work ethic. The fact that he came in injured and out of shape is a real testament to the off-season program. Even if you are working out, you might not be doing things right to be in the kind of condition it takes to play in the NFL. The fact that Gilbert has adjusted to the day-in/day-out grind of the NFL as quickly as he has without the off-season program is a good indicator that we took a quality person and player with our second pick this year.
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    Default Re: Gilbert earns another chance to start

    Quote Originally Posted by buckeyehoppy View Post
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    I see Gilbert as the heir apparent to take the LT job at some point in the future. I think he just has that type of talent and work ethic. The fact that he came in injured and out of shape is a real testament to the off-season program. Even if you are working out, you might not be doing things right to be in the kind of condition it takes to play in the NFL. The fact that Gilbert has adjusted to the day-in/day-out grind of the NFL as quickly as he has without the off-season program is a good indicator that we took a quality person and player with our second pick this year.
    I totally agree. He has really worked hard and has about caught up to where he needs to be. Having Pouncey seems to be paying double the dividends, being a stud center AND helping to give guidance to our future LT. I hope Gilbert takes advantage of this opportunity and takes the starting job.
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