Steelers vs. Bengals Week 2 matchups: DEs Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap vs. Marcus Gilbert and Mike Adams

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh needs outstanding rebound performances from offensive tackles Mike Adams and Marcus Gilbert to help stifle Cincinnati's talented defensive ends in what could be a defensive standoff at Paul Brown Stadium Monday.

Understatement of the year: the Steelers' offensive tackles, Mike Adams (left) and Marcus Gilbert (right) struggle in pass protection in their relatively short careers to date.

Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson, the main edge rushers for the Cincinnati Bengals, have not struggled getting to the quarterback. It's a recipe for disaster, and certainly a match-up that favors the favored Bengals on Monday Night Football.

Gilbert in particular struggles physically. He doesn't always play with enough strength or quickness to handle left defensive ends - a position that didn't used to have the kind of pass rushers teams are now loading up on that side. There are times in which he shows enough discipline to play the position, but that's not always the case - and certainly wasn't against Tennessee in Week 1.

Adams' main issues are not necessarily of a physical variety. Mentally, he seems lost sometimes; as if he's completely unaware of what protection is being called. Perhaps that's most of the time.

A graceful athlete, few move as well as Adams does in space. He just needs to get on the same page and learn how to play fast - as in, reacting within the scheme as opposed to thinking through what he's doing as the play is developing.

Keeping the Steelers' ball carriers, including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, free from defenders in the backfield will be the main reason behind whether the Steelers win or lose this game.

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