But what about those other players? These are the players who deserve a ton of credit, but don’t get the love because their position might not be as flashy, or their play doesn’t necessarily register on the stat sheet.
Well, our Unheralded Players feature is where these players get their due credit. Time to talk about the players who deserve some ink:
Hubbard wasn’t supposed to be used except as an extra tight end, but when Marcus Gilbert left the game after re-aggravating his hamstring injury, Hubbard was forced into tackle duty again. Although he struggled in pass protection in his previous starts, Hubbard performed very well both in run and pass blocking vs. the Chiefs’ defense. Kudos to Chris for filling in on short notice, and he’ll likely be the starting right tackle again on Sunday.
There’s something I’ve always liked about a pulling guard. Ever since I started playing football in sixth grade, whenever we’d run a trap play, I liked to watch the line shift and see the guard “ear-hole” someone. David DeCastro seems to be one of the best at this particular skill in the NFL. There were some tremendous plays in Week 6 with DeCastro leading the way, and it’s truly a sacrificial position. He sacrifices his body so the play can be successful. DeCastro is the best guard, and especially when pulling, since Alan Faneca donned the same number jersey.
Another lineman—you can see a trend here. Finney filled in for the injured Ramon Foster. Finney has taken over for Cody Wallace as the backup interior lineman and, like Wallace, Finney is a road-grader. He thrives in run blocking but sometimes struggles in pass-blocking. Lucky for him the Steelers were a power-running machine on Sunday. Mad props to Finney for a job well done as a starter on Sunday. Quality depth is hard to come by, and the Steelers have exactly that in Finney and Hubbard.
Tuitt received a hefty new contract before the season, and the more I watch him, the more I think he’s worth every dime. He’s a nightmare to try to stop, and the Steelers move him around to the point where they line him up almost as an outside linebacker. He’s winning at each and every position. Also, it seems Tuitt is finally getting back to health after injuring his biceps in Week 1. If you want to know why the Steelers have improved against stretch running plays, it’s because of No. 91. He might not always get the sacks, but he’s disruptive on almost every play.
Been awhile since the Steelers used a fullback as much as they did in Week 6. Dan Krieder comes to mind, but Nix was used early and often, and he was blowing up would-be tacklers at will. On top of using Nix as a fullback to lead the way for Le’Veon Bell, he’s also a special-teams ace who’s willing to lay on the lumber whenever he’s chasing down ball carriers — just ask Tyreek Hill. If the Steelers are committed to being a power-running team, they need to embrace Nix as a mainstay in the offensive game plan.