I was jacked to set up on the sidelines for the pre-season Heinz Field home opener with the Steelers playing host to the Indianapolis Colts. Not because of Andrew Luck, or the return of Bruce Arians or anything like that. I wanted to see Willie Colon make his first start at guard.
All right, i suppose you can call me a Hogg sympathizer, or an offensive line snob, but i have followed Willie Colon’s career for quite some time and i have always believed he could play guard, and do it well. Sunday night, Big Willie didn’t disappoint.
On the openeing series for the Steelers they ran the ball with, i believe it was, Johnathan Dwyer carrying the pigskin that called for a double-team block on the frontside between Marcus Gilbert and Colon. 300 hundred plus pounds of Colts DT Tony Moala dug in versus about 700 pounds of Hogg-on-the-hoof as Willie acted as the post-man and Gilbert the hip banger with an eye to come off on a linebacker trying to run through.
Colon hit Moala square down the numbers and started to “crane” or lift Moala up from a low pad level. Gilbert, as the man who comes in from the side to bang the hip of Moala and double-team him out of the trenches didn’t get low enough but Marcus has plenty of strength, and he used it all.
Slowly (though realize when i say this it’s just a matter of 1.5-2 seconds), Colon and Gilbert raised up the Colts DT who was fighting mightily, trying to stay low and turning sideways to reduce the hip area available to Gilbert. There seemed an awfully long moment where the colliding forces seemed to neutralize each other. But only for a moment.
Like an aging, old Oak tree that has withstood the onslaught of hundreds of storms only to finally meet it’s match and crack under enormous pressure, Moala suddenly gave way to the fury of a storm named Marcus-Willie.
Moala was lifted up and then, like a cascading wave crashing onto the shore line carrying human bodies like debris, Moala, Gilbert and Colon all crashed to the Heinz Field turf about five or six yards down the field. Awesome.
It’s hard to convey a titan-esque physical match-up like that if you’ve never been fortunate enough to be in on one. In the “game within the game,” where superior fire power means a lot, this was a huge win and what i knew Willie would be great at. Willie is a natural drive blocker and capable of rolling his hips through thereby lifting up and securing the down lineman on a double-team so that the tackle can provide extra oomph, and go get somebody on the second level.
Colon and Gilbert literally carried Moala several steps before the big splash and the play netted a positive gain just because the “shoreline” was now six yards or so back further than when the storm started. This was a perfect example of what it means to “Re-establish the line of scrimmage on the other side.”
After the game i saw Willie in the lockerroom. I said, “Check out that double-team on the first drive during films.”
I saw Willie today at practice, and i said “How’d that double-team look on film?”
Willie just let a grin crease his face and replied, “Pretty good.”