2) Taking The Bad With The Good
The other rookie starting on the Steelers’ line is RG David Decastro. He showed his athleticism getting out in space on a screen but made a poor attempt at a cut block that Brian Rolle easily avoided. Overall Decastro did well in pass protection. Cullen Jenkins gave him some trouble on one play but he recovered well and ensured Big Ben had space to step up. It was interesting to see him matched up with fellow first round pick Fletcher Cox. The Steelers ran a stretch play right and Cox was able to get off Decastro’s block and help with the tackle for a loss. The next time the two went head to head was on a pass play where Cox was able to drive Decastro back. Again the Steeler guard showed good recovery however and prevented pressure. They went back to the ground back on the very next play, Cox showed great strength to hold his ground against a double team that included Decastro. His work left LB Demeco Ryans clean but he couldn’t finish the play and the runner picked up good yardage.
Decastro had a good start to the second quarter, doing a nice job on an outside run. He worked across the shade of DT Antonio Dixon and was able to seal him away from the play. The highlight of his day came a couple of plays later when he used Cox’s momentum to drive him out of the hole and create a huge gap for the runner. As is the case with rookies however you get a lot of bad with the good. Down in the red zone Cox was able to get off Decastro’s block, with him looking to the second level for some reason, and tackle the runner for a loss. The next play saw him again matched up with Cox and this time he needed help from the C to move the man out of Mississippi State. This left the LBs unblocked and they were able to make the play.
1) Rookie Woes
The Steelers young offensive line took a beating from the Eagles’ front four, who were without three of their starters entering the game. Rookie left tackle Mike Adams had particular trouble in passing situations. It started on the third play of the game, where veteran defensive end Daryl Tapp gave him trouble on an inside spin move. He was then abused by former CFL star Philip Hunt who used his speed to beat him to the outside for the sack.