Marcus Gilbert was hardly a stable force for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the offensive trenches last fall. The starting right tackle not only allowed the most sacks (11) and quarterback hurries (30) on the team in 2013, various injuries caused him to miss bits and pieces of numerous games as well.
The soon to be fourth-year tackle will enter the final year of his rookie contract this fall, and Pittsburgh’s brass will need to determine whether or not he is a long-term answer at the right tackle position. For as much as he struggled during the 2013 campaign, I hope that the coaching staff will force the soon to be fourth-year tackle to compete to keep his starting job throughout the upcoming spring and summer.
In fact, it might do Gilbert some good to have his starting job in jeopardy. Thankfully for the Steelers, Mike Adams could be a great option for them to turn to if they want to put pressure on Gilbert during his contract season.
Although Adams was benched and relegated to roles as the team’s backup tight end and swing offensive tackle, the former Ohio State Buckeye played hungrier, more technically sound and looked far more comfortable on the right side of the offensive line during the final two months of the 2013 regular season.
As out of position as he looked as Pittsburgh’s blind-side protector during the month of September, just remember that it was Adams who earned the team’s Rookie of the Year award in 2012 for his solid play at the right tackle position. While he was far from perfect, Adams’ improvement down the stretch in 2013 should garner him a shot to unseat Gilbert as the team’s starting right tackle in the immediate future.
Both of Pittsburgh’s second round tackles have underwhelmed during their respective stints with the team, and time is running short for the franchise’s brass to determine which one is a better long-term fit at the right tackle spot. Not only will Gilbert’s rookie contract expire after the 2014 regular season, Adams’ will hit the free agent market after the 2015 season as well.
Gilbert’s play last season was far from stellar, so it might be wise to put some necessary heat on him if he wishes to receive an extension and keep his starting job beyond the 2014 regular season. In turn, it might benefit the Steelers to give Adams a shot to win a starting job once again at a position he is far more suited to play.
Competition could be just what these two high-round picks who have had their fair share of ups and downs during their respective professional careers need. Thus, it would be nice to see Pittsburgh’s coaching staff force Gilbert and Adams to duel over the upcoming months for the right to start at right tackle.
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