The day after one of the worst displays of Steeler football that most of us can ever remember, the Steelers some roster moves which included activated 1st rounder David DeCastro.
As Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette points out: DeCastro, their first-round draft choice, was placed on the newly created injured reserve/designated to return list after a knee injury in the third preseason game. He was eligible to return after eight weeks but did not begin practicing until last week.
The Steelers also re-signed offensive lineman John Malecki, placed offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert on injured reserve and released wide receiver David Gilreath, who is possibly headed for their practice squad.
The activation of DeCastro was expected all year long, it was just a matter of when they would pull the trigger after he became eligible to return. We shouldn’t get all giddy just yet to see DeCastro out on the field though this weekend against the Ravens.
Unless Mike Tomlin goes completely off the normal path, DC will likely play backup to Doug Legursky, who will start at RG because Ramon Foster may end up moving to RT to play in place of injured rookie Mike Adams, who left Sunday’s game with a left ankle injury. Who’s on first..what?
If you’ve ever read anything from me about the Steelers on the web, you know that I’ve been saying all along since DeCastro got hurt, that starting a rookie in December is never a good idea unless it’s absolutely necessary. Again, had the injury not happened and DC plays all year at RG, then that’s completely different.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a first round pick or Mr. Irrelevant; you want experience whenever possible in big games. DeCastro will get his shot and he’s certainly the man of the future, but that future doesn’t have to be now necessarily. We shall see how this one turns out.
Willie Colon is also expected back to man the LG position.
At this point the Steelers offensive line could look like:
LT Max Starks
LG Willie Colon
C Maurkice Pouncey
RG Doug Legursky
RT Ramon Foster
Backups would then be some combination of John Malecki, David DeCastro, and Kelvin Beachum.
Beachum, a rookie also, has struggled this season and it shouldn’t surprise any of us to see him deactivated for Sunday and the Steelers going with Malecki and DeCastro as the backups. The only saving grace for Beachum would be that he is a bit more suited at Tackle than Guard.
David Gilreath was expendable with the signing of Plaxico Burress and the pending return of Antonio Brown from his ankle injury. He could likely end up back on the practice squad.
Marcus Gilbert was somewhat of a surprise in that Tomlin didn’t let on just how serious the injury was to the 2nd year player but obviously it was bad enough, and the depth at offensive line was a big issue.