The Steelers expected Marcus Gilbert to back up both tackle spots in his first NFL season, but when ORT Willie Colon suffered a season-ending triceps injury in Week One, the rookie took on significantly more responsibility. Gilbert started 14 of the next 16 games, including the playoff loss to Denver. "He's got a lot of room for improvement and growth, but he worked hard, and I was real pleased with his first year," Steelers OL coach Sean Kugler said at the Senior Bowl. Kugler told PFW that the experience can only help the Florida product. "He's ahead of schedule, just because he's got 15 games under his belt, which a lot of guys going into their second year don't have. He has that advantage, and hopefully he can take advantage of that and continue to progress," Kugler said. Colon is slated to return next season, but OLT Max Starks, who suffered an ACL injury in the wild-card loss, is a free agent. Kugler said Gilbert's diligence will be key if he is to progress in his development. "Marcus is athletic, and he enjoys playing the game. He's somebody, if he continues to work, who has got a chance to be a good player," Kugler said.