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: Will we see rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster back out on the field today?
The Steelers’ rookie draft class on the whole has not had the greatest luck thus far. Keion Adams didn’t finish a day of practice from the heat. Cameron Sutton is dealing with some lower body injury. James Conner currently has his arm in a sling. And JuJu Smith-Schuster suffered an ankle injury in his first training camp practice.
But it’s not all bad. Adams returned the next day without issue. We’re not really sure what is happening with Sutton and Conner, but the former is likely to get back quicker than the latter. And Smith-Schuster’s return seems to be imminent, which will be a welcome sight, especially with Martavis Bryant not yet back to practice.
The rookie wide receiver was spotted going through some individual drills at practice on Monday, including some agility exercises, although he did not run the full gamut as the others did. Still, it was a positive sign that suggest he may be ready to return as early as today after the team’s day off.
When he does return, assuming that Bryant has not yet returned, I will be very interested to see where and when he is being used. Lest we forget, Sammie Coates is also still out, though he is keeping active on the JUGS machine. As a result, Justin Hunter has been running with the first-team offense.
Would the Steelers throw Smith-Schuster in with the first-team unit, and if so, where would they use him? There is no hurry for them to unseat Eli Rogers in the slot, but one would also think that they want to get him going and ready to play.
They already worked him both inside and outside during the spring, so surely he would be rotated in both spots. How much time he might spend with the first-team unit versus the second-team, however, is another matter.