It's all about trust.
Can the Steelers trust Marcus Gilbert?
Despite Bouchette's questionable statement that former Steelers LT Max Starks could have been considered the team's best offensive lineman in 2012, the reality is they haven't had an outstanding performer at that spot in while. If Gilbert was considered the heir apparent upon being drafted in 2011, each season seems to have started off going in a different direction.
Bouchette wrote there was an issue with Gilbert's conditioning and attitude his rookie season. Naive writers have been led to believe, for years, all a rookie has control of is his conditioning and attitude. Bouchette is writing the team enlisted the help of center Maurkice Pouncey to motivate Gilbert that season.
It didn't seem like Gilbert took well to the idea he would play a second season on the right side in 2012. The team drafted Mike Adams in the second round, and declared it would move Willie Colon to left guard. After a sluggish start to the season (that included being knocked into two teammates - David DeCastro and David Johnson - causing significant knee injuries), Gilbert would eventually suffer an ankle injury that was more serious than initially reported. He tore tendon away from the bone, and it led to his placement on Injured Reserve.
Most recently, Gilbert raised eyebrows when he was filmed laying on the ground after completing his conditioning test Friday on the eve of training camp.
Clearly, the knee jerk reaction is he isn't in shape. Not that finishing the series of 100 yards timed sprints is easy in and of itself, but the message it sends is it took everything Gilbert had to finish the mandatory test.
Gilbert would later say his "body was cramping" (no specific area, mind you, his entire body began cramping in unison), which seems like a generic explanation for a plausible ailment.
But that whole "trust" thing comes back into play. When you haven't built the capital to earn any benefit of any doubt, you're going to get questioned over things, especially of this nature.
Gilbert told Bouchette, "The quarterback has to trust me. If he doesn't have your trust and he doesn't trust you, I wouldn't be in the position I'm in right now."
Let's hope that's legitimately the case.
More from Behind the Steel Curtain:
- Baron Batch, the forgotten running back
- Markus Wheaton catching passes late in an effort to catch up
- Steelers training camp recap Day 1: Lightning steals an otherwise solid day of Football in Shorts
- AFC North News: ESPN source says Ravens Pitta out for the 2013 season after hip surgery
- The battle to replace Doug Legursky is underway
- Steelers airing it out, connecting on several deep passes
- UPDATE: Practice back on after severe weather put workout at St. Vincent College on hold
- Definition of the NFL's two Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) lists and why it matters to the Steelers
- Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger chose his offensive lieutenants
- Roethlisberger admits there was 'some frustration' with Haley's offense in 2013