Wait-and-see approach for Steelers' Gilbert
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was noncommittal about rookie right tackle Marcus Gilbert returning to his starting spot when the team practices for the first time Wednesday in preparation for the regular-season finale at Cleveland.
"We will see," Tomlin said at his weekly news conference.
Tomlin benched Gilbert, a second-round draft pick out of Florida, against the Rams because "he was less than professional in preparation."
Gilbert was late to a team meeting earlier in the week. Gilbert had started 12 of the past 13 games at right tackle — he was inactive against Jacksonville with shoulder injury — before being limited to field goal and extra point attempts against the Rams.
Tomlin started veteran Jonathan Scott in Gilbert's absence.
"He prepared like a professional," Tomlin said of Scott. "That was worthy of a challenge of blocking a guy like Chris Long. Marcus Gilbert's behavior was not. Talent is one thing; what you are willing to do is another."
> > Tomlin awarded Trai Essex the game ball after filling in at center against the Rams after Doug Legursky went down with a shoulder injury. It was the first time Essex played an extended number of snaps at center.
"We thought Trai's willingness and ability to play center was critical to our success under unusual circumstances," Tomlin said. "To have a guy to come in and deliver the way he delivered for us — not only in the way he was snapping the football, but declaring fronts and blocking in the run game. It was a special afternoon for him."
Essex wasn't re-signed by the team until after the start of the season, and recently found his way into the starting lineup at left guard. Essex has started at the other four positions on the line during his career and could get his first start at center this week if Maurkice Pouncey is ruled out.
> > The Steelers likely will finish the season having the worst rush defense in 10 years and two stints under defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. The Steelers rank ninth in the NFL, surrendering 101.7 yards rushing per game heading into Sunday's game. A LeBeau-led Steelers defense has never finished lower than third and has never allowed more than 90 yards per game. The Steelers are allowing nearly 40 more yards per game on the ground than they did a season ago.
> > Tomlin isn't expecting running back Mewelde Moore (MCL sprain) or Legursky (left shoulder) to be ready to play Sunday. Tomlin said everybody else "has a shot" to play, including Pouncey (ankle), linebacker LaMarr Woodley (hamstring), quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (high-ankle sprain) and Emmanuel Sanders (foot).
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.
- Veteran LB Harrison: Steelers must play to way defense is set up
- Steelers notebook: Fully healthy, rookie WR Bryant progressing fast
- ‘Big play’ moniker fits veteran Steelers cornerback Gay
- Steelers’ prime-time games shrink attendance at Heinz Field
- Steelers offense puts up gaudy numbers in season’s 1st half
- Steelers notebook: Roethlisberger, offense must adjust with CB Smith out
- Greene expects Steelers jersey retirement ceremony to get emotional
- Robinson: Rooney retains North Side roots
- Colts pass on defensing Big Ben amid Steelers QB’s record-setting day
- QB Roethlisberger, Steelers roll past Colts in record-setting game
- Steelers’ receivers enjoy being part of Ben’s record day