Sure, Steelers’ first-round pick David DeCastro put together a solid first preseason game against the Eagles last week.
DeCastro didn’t look overwhelmed physically or mentally, and received some high praise from offensive line coach Sean Kugler afterwards.
Kugler went as far as to tell veteran reporter Jim Wexell that DeCastro is “the starting right guard,” which was almost immediately misconstrued by the masses because of the excitement that comes along with DeCastro.
Let’s get something straight – DeCastro was not named the starting right guard for the season opener (not yet, at least). He’s just simply starting at right guard now.
But there is a difference between being named the starter and starting.
Now, will DeCastro give that starting job up anytime soon? If he continues to improve and play like he did Thursday against the Eagles then absolutely not.
But to name him the starter after 12 training camp practices in which half of his reps came with the second team, and a total of 34 snaps in one preseason game (12 of which he got help with a double team) would not only be irresponsible, but wouldn’t be Mike Tomlin’s style.
Tomlin made Maurkice Pouncey wait until the third preseason game of his rookie year before inserting him into the starting lineup even when it was apparent early on that Pouncey was special.
The reason why DeCastro is “the starting right guard” right now is out of necessity.
With Mike Adams likely out for a couple of weeks with a sore knee, and Max Starks likely not ready for a couple of weeks still recovering for January ACL surgery, the Steelers are in dire need of a left tackle. Marcus Gilbert is the best option thus leaving a hole at right tackle.
The Steelers felt that starting right guard Ramon Foster would be the best option to fill in at right guard thus opening “the starting right guard” spot for DeCastro at this time.
Now, by the time Adams is healthy or Starks is ready, DeCastro might very well be entrenched as the starting right guard anyways, but time will tell that.
DeCastro struggled adjusting to his first two weeks of training camp and was routinely beaten physically more than mentally that brought some concern.
But you could see against the Eagles why the Steelers were so excited that DeCastro fell to them in the first round of April’s draft.
DeCastro is a very talented puller and showed that he has a good knack of scraping off a double team to get out on a linebacker – two very important things asked from guards in the NFL.
DeCastro will be a very good guard in this league for a long time … but not after 34 preseason snaps.
Patience people, patience.