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2017 Offseason Questions: Biggest Question Heading Into OTAs?

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: What is the biggest question that you have about the Steelers’ 2017 roster as OTAs get under way?

Given the significance of the start of OTAs as a critical benchmark for the progress of the offseason—it is the first opportunity for players to participate in 11-on-11 drills, pitting the offense against the defense—I thought it would be an appropriate time to open discussion up to the floor.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the course of the past several months posing questions that I have felt are pertinent, many of which have gotten into the topic of the Steelers’ roster heading into the season. What they have lost, what they have gained. What they need to improve upon.

What is the biggest question facing the team this year in your mind? I imagine it’s probably not going to be the long snapper position, even though they just lost their decade-plus-long starter. If the biggest question facing a team was the long snapper, then they will be in damn good shape.

The Steelers have lost a couple of starters from last season, or at least players who were supposed to be starters. In the case of Ladarius Green, Jesse James already spent most of the year replacing him. Vince Williams has only started in spots due to injury over the years, and never in place of Lawrence Timmons.

Will the Steelers improve on the back end? Will the pass rush be better? How quickly will T.J. Watt develop, and meaningfully contribute? Will Bud Dupree be able to take that next, needed step and become the impactful pass rusher they have been looking for?

Will Le’Veon Bell be able to make it through a season? Will Ben Roethlisberger? What about Martavis Bryant? Will he make it to the season, and how will he look once he does, a year out of the game?

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