The 2016 season is unfortunately over, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are now embarking upon their latest offseason journey, heading back to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the postseason is now behind us, there is plenty left to discuss.
And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the offseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: Will there be any notable news bits on the opening day of phase one of the offseason program?
While the Steelers may be in a prolonged state of morning, the reality is that today is, in a very real sense, the first day of work. Technically, it’s voluntary work, but it’s work none the less. Today is April 17, which for most teams around the league is the first day of phase one of the offseason program.
While it is technically voluntary, the vast majority of players do show up, and it isn’t uncommon for a team to have perfect attendance. The veterans make their presence known to lead by example, and the fringe roster players…well, let’s just say it’s not a good look if you don’t even come to workouts.
Not a lot will be going on, of course, for the next couple of weeks under the CBA. According to the NFLPA, phase one of the offseason program is limited to strength and conditioning activities, with only the corresponding coaching personnel allowed to be on the field. The maximum time allowed on field is 90 minutes.
Coaches can only delineate two of the four hours allowed per day for specific activities, with the rest up to the players to determine, which naturally consists largely of weight training or film study. But this will be the first real opportunity for players and coaches to communicate again since the end of last season.
This will be the first opportunity for us to hear from really anybody since the end of last offseason. Some of which we are no doubt looking forward to hearing something about than others, particularly young players dealing with injuries such as Sammie Coates and Senquez Golson.
The biggest possible news, I would imagine, could come from Ladarius Green, and whether or not he can be cleared to participate even in the strength and conditioning drills. He missed the team’s final five games, including the playoffs, with a concussion.