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: How much quality playing time might Anthony Chickillo see during the preseason?
This is a question that you have to wonder about when you consider the fact that there are other young players at the position who will be expected to play a more immediate role on defense who need valuable preseason reps to gain experience.
But as has become the norm, third-year outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo has continued to do well during training camp settings, even if he has once again been bogged down by injuries. An injury kept him out of the first preseason game, but he has been back on the field this week.
Presumably, that should mean that he will be able to participate in the Steelers’ next preseason game, but another young outside linebacker, with a bigger role, should also be available to play after missing the first game—that being Bud Dupree.
We know Dupree’s story, of course. The former first-round draft pick missed most of his second season due to injury and is expected to have a big year this season. He has trained hard this offseason to prepare for it, but he did have to miss some time with an injury.
He is young and inexperienced enough to still need those reps. And as we saw last week, T.J. Watt will also be getting snaps on the left side of the defense, presumably, when it is called for.
This could complicate matters when it comes to Chickillo seeing playing time during the preseason because of the need to get Dupree and Watt their workload. The Steelers are expecting them to be their starting outside linebackers, so they must be prepared accordingly.
While Chickillo has through his strong practices earned the right to get some quality reps during the preseason, perhaps in an audition for a role during the regular season, the simple fact of the matter is that there may not be many such snaps to distribute.