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 cornerback Ross Cockrell retain his starting job when the regular season begins?
Although it seemed to come somewhat out of nowhere in the past week or so, there was always the possibility that the Steelers would attempt to make a change in the starting lineup at cornerback, with Ross Cockrell essentially inheriting the role by default.
While he played fairly well last season (cue dissenters), certain struggles that he has had this preseason have really put the spotlight on him, and as a result we have found him being rotated with Coty Sensabaugh for a possible switch in the starting lineup.
During Saturday’s preseason game, the two cornerbacks rotated drives during the first half, although in truth neither of them looked particularly great during the game. If Sensabaugh is not going to actually do a better job that it wouldn’t make much sense to make the change simply for the purpose of changing something.
Then there is the potential looming threat of rookie Cameron Sutton. While he has likely missed far too much of training camp and the preseason to be in consideration of making a serious push for a starting job right off the bat, it’s not inconceivable that it could eventually happen at some point during the year if he plays well enough and those ahead of him do not.
No matter what happens in the secondary, there is no disputing that the pass rush also has to improve. Specifically the four-man rush. The coaching staff has been talking about this for years now. They tried to give it a go at the start of last season and ended up with among the lowest sack totals in the league in the first half of the season.