The journey toward the 2017 season is now in full swing with the Pittsburgh Steelers having reported to Latrobe for their annual training camp at Saint Vincent College, where they have held their camps for over half a century now.
This is surely the time more than any other in which we find ourselves full of questions that we are looking to get answered, and this also tends to be the best time to get answers to those questions that have been building up over the course of time since the 2016 season ended.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the training camp and the preseason 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: Which players who are working their way back from injuries will be available to play on Sunday?
The Steelers, as with most teams, have a number of players who are injured in some form or fashion, either sidelined entirely, or only participating in individual drills. A number of them have already managed to work their way back, though not all of them fully.
The team had a number of these players unavailable to them for the preseason opener, which left them pretty short-handed at certain positions, even considering the fact that certain starters were inevitably held out.
So which among the injured will make their debut for the 2017 season on Sunday? Justin Hunter would seem to be a safe bet. He had an undisclosed injury but has been back at practice all week this week after sitting out the preseason opener.
James Conner could be a different story. While he returned from a shoulder injury, he did get a little bit dinged up apparently at the end of yesterday’s practice and did not complete some team work and other sessions. We’ll learn more today if he resumes practicing.
A couple of other players, like Landry Jones and rookie Cameron Sutton, have only worked their way partially back to practice. Jones isn’t really throwing, while Sutton has only done limited work. Failing to go through a full practice today strongly suggests they will not play on Sunday.
One big return should be Sammie Coates, who looks to be on pace to play Sunday after practicing for the past two days since coming off the PUP list. With short receiver lines last game, his return will make a difference, as will getting Artie Burns and Anthony Chickillo back on defense.
Alejandro Villanueva figures to play after missing the first game, though whether Maurkice Pouncey does remains to be seen. Demarcus Ayers also at the moment does not appear likely to play, while Senquez Golson and Keion Adams are virtual locks not to dress, as is Mike Mitchell.