Fresh start for Steelers guard DeCastro
Most players can't wait to leave behind the classroom once they move into the NFL. During his three months off from playing last season, Steelers right guard David DeCastro willingly returned to it.
Perhaps that's not surprising for someone who was an excellent student at Stanford, but DeCastro's voluminous studying had nothing to do with his college major of management science and engineering.
Rather, he helped teach himself how to become a reliable NFL lineman, with the help of former offensive line coach Sean Kugler and the other Steelers linemen.
While sitting out three months with a serious preseason knee injury, DeCastro carefully watched practice, watched game tape and, most of all, watched his teammates.
“The NFL is a lot different game than it is in college, just technique-wise, using your hands,” DeCastro said Tuesday as the Steelers began the second week of offseason practice. “There's stuff you pick up on and kind of teach yourself. A lot of guys already have that technique; you can see it in all the second- or third-year guys.”
The Steelers have plenty of those. Their projected starting offensive line of Marcus Gilbert, Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, DeCastro and Mike Adams averages 24 1⁄2 years. Only Foster (27) is older than 25, and three are 23.
“Pouncey has got his technique down, Ramon's got a technique down. So you take bits and pieces and see what you're doing,” the 6-foot-5, 315-pound DeCastro said. “I learned a lot and, to me, it's all instinct now. It's a whole different game, and I think I'm a lot more prepared for this season. ... It's almost like a fresh beginning.”
Nose tackle Steve McLendon can tell the difference in DeCastro from a year ago, when the former All-American and first-round draft pick was beginning his adjustment to the NFL.
“It's a great jump for him,” McLendon said. “He came in last year and I would tell him, ‘Hey, man, get your hands on me. This is a physical game. If you let somebody push you around, they're going to push you around every day.' ''
That doesn't happen much now to DeCastro, who hopes to take the experiences from the four games he played in December — three starts — and apply them to a full season.
“It wasn't like, ‘Oh, my gosh, I can't do this,' ” DeCastro said. “The margin for error is much smaller in the NFL, and that's what you learn. You take one wrong step — you can get away with it in college, but you can't get away with it in the NFL. But it wasn't overwhelming at all.”
DeCastro is especially encouraged because there have been no issues with his right knee, which required surgery to repair a torn medial collateral ligament and dislocated kneecap.
“My knee's feeling great, I feel great,” DeCastro said. “I feel fast, I feel loose. I have no regrets about it (the injury layoff). It was a good learning experience.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 2014 showing has Steelers RB Harris confident he belongs
- Steelers OLB coach Porter teaches as passionately as he played
- Inside The Steelers: LB Williams dominates backs-on-backers drill at Latrobe Memorial Stadium
- Steelers’ reserve quarterbacks vie to secure spot behind Roethlisberger, Gradkowski
- Steelers notebook: Officials discuss new game ball procedures
- Inside the Steelers: Rookie linebacker Chickillo continues to excel
- Starkey: Garoppolo baffles Steelers
- Steelers notebook: LB Dupree sits out backs-on–backers drill
- Steelers stress improved conditioning in attempt to play past injuries
- Memories of Steelers fan from Beaver Falls go beyond simple recall
- Inside the Steelers: Williams’ quickness out of backfield evident in drills