With the Pittsburgh Steelers’ training camp for the 2015 season now in swing, it’s time to get down to the business of football. The time for “football in shorts” or “football-like” events is over as teams all around the league embark on their own personal journey for the upcoming season.
Although for just about every team the time leading up to the regular season and reflect a period of optimism, it’s also a period of great uncertainty, which means that there are a lot of questions that need to be answered before we know who or what a team truly is. It’s a process that can last well into the regular season.
But today we begin with training camp check-ins, which coincide with the conditioning test, which leads us to our first question on the agenda: how is the Steelers’ bill of health?
There are no known significant injuries that need monitoring, and as far as we are aware everybody donning the black and gold successfully made it through the Fourth of July weekend unscathed and with as many fingers and toes as they started, which is always a plus.
There are some things that can stand to be checked up on specifically, however, and that begins with the knee of running back Le’Veon Bell, who suffered an injury in the regular season finale after turning to run after a reception. While he left the game, early speculation led some to believe that he could have possibly suited up later that postseason.
It was revealed after the fact, at least seemingly, to have been a more serious injury than that, with Bell himself charting his own progress with percentages in the 80 range just a few months ago. He hasn’t taken a hit in pads since then, so how is he holding up?
Another major source of curiosity will be—and forgive me as I speculate—the condition of Mike Mitchell’s groin, which he revealed after the season had been torn, or at least injured badly enough to merit reparative surgery in the offseason.
Mitchell maintained that he continued to feel some soreness in his groin during OTAs and in minicamp, which was not unexpected given his projected recovery period. But the fact is that he played through it last year, which means he can play now. The question is, will he be able to play better now because of it?
Steve McLendon was yet another player to have offseason surgery, in this case on his shoulder, which proved to be a chronic injury throughout the season that he suffered early on, causing him to miss four games in total, and parts of others.
The nose tackle has been hampered by chronic injuries during his first two years as a starter, and the Steelers are hoping to see him get through a full season relatively healthy in the final year of his contract.
Another injury worth checking up on will be second-year linebacker Jordan Zumwalt, who spent his rookie season on injured reserve. He was reportedly looking a bit stiff back during the spring. For his sake, he had better be ready to go for training camp. And I haven’t even mentioned Jarvis Jones.
Of course, now is also the time to learn about any other bumps and bruises accrued by the 90-man roster along the road between minicamp and training camp. But overall, it seems that the Steelers are fortunate to have a pretty clean bill of health.