A year ago Marcus Gilbert didn’t know exactly what to expect at training camp, simply knowing he had to show the coaches a lot after not having OTAs or mini-camp because of the NFL lockout.
In his second season things are a lot easier for the Steelers right tackle.
“The advantage is getting with the players, getting with the coaches and getting extra reps,” said Gilbert. “Last year, our first day in pads, coaches wanted to see how we did. The coaches wanted to see how tough we were, how fast we could play and what mistakes we made.
“Now it’s more about just getting better at the position and working on the areas that you need to improve on from last year. I think this second year is really a big step for me, and especially for our offensive line.”
Gilbert saw action right off the bat last year when Willie Colon was injured in the season-opener at Baltimore, taking over the starting right tackle spot in week two despite mainly working on the left side in training camp and the preseason.
“With the injuries that go on you have to be prepared,” said Gilbert. “Last year when I came in I was mainly working on the left side and when Willie went down I stepped into the right side without playing it in the preseason. I think all linemen need to learn both sides. You don’t know when you will be thrown in the fire. I will be prepared on both sides, but I won’t count myself out on the left side.
“At left tackle you go against the best athletes, that is the quarterback’s blind side. The best tackle on the team plays that left tackle position. I feel like I am that type of guy, but wherever the coaches put me, whatever helps the team, I am willing to do anything to help the team win.”
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