2 BITS: Gilbert’s struggles, McDonald’s support

By Adam Silverstein
September 17, 2014

1 » Former Florida Gators right tackle Marcus Gilbert signed a $30 million contract extension with the Pittsburgh Steelers just one month ago, linking him to the franchise through 2019 if it keeps him for the duration of his contact. Gilbert, however, has not been giving Pittsburgh much bang for its buck through two games. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ed Bouchette, Gilbert has played all 132 of the Steelers’ offensive snaps and given up four sacks in that time. However, head coach Mike Tomlin chalked part of Gilbert’s struggles up to his opponents and is planning to stick with him going forward. “When I coached college football, I used to say, ‘They have scholarships, too.’ I think the same applies in the NFL. You’re talking about guys like Marcus and having to rebound and, obviously, he needs to do that. But you also have to acknowledge that they face some pretty stiff challenges week in and week out,” said Tomlin, referring to Gilbert going head-to-head with Elvis Dumervil last week.

Gilbert pinpointed his struggles to his footwork. “It will be corrected,” he said. “I played solid the whole game, I can’t let two plays determine my play in the whole game. … I’m not making excuses. I just have to get it corrected.” Currently 1-1 with a road game at Carolina scheduled for Sunday, Pittsburgh absolutely needs Gilbert to step his game up if it hopes to make a serious postseason run. The Steelers are currently 50/1 to win the whole thing though there can certainly be changes to their super bowl odds going forward.

2 » The San Francisco 49ers continue to stand strong behind veteran defensive lineman Ray McDonald, who is under investigation after being arrested for felony domestic violence on Aug. 31 but steadfastly maintains his innocence and has yet to be officially charged. “You’ve seen there’s been a lot of public speculation and people weighing in with their opinion whether it’s a public figure or people through social media,” said head coach Jim Harbaugh on Monday, according to CSNBayArea.com. “Our response would be: We have two principles at play here. One is respect for due process. And we’re not going to flinch, based on public speculation.” Team CEO Jed York last week offered a similar sentiment. “I will not punish somebody until we see evidence that it should be done or before an entire organization, an entire legal, police investigation, shows us something,” he said on the radio.

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