The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: What does Kameron Kelly’s opportunity to work with the first-team defense during the second week of OTAs signify, if anything?
You probably read sometime within the past two days about the fact that former AAF defensive back Kameron Kelly was running with the first-team defense yesterday at free safety, as Joe Rutter reported. This probably isn’t about any kind of demotion, so you have to figure that Sean Davis is dealing with a nick of some kind, barring some sort of life event.
It’s not so much Davis not being on the field that is the more notable thing here, though. It’s about Kelly being chosen to fill his shoes for the time being. While neither of them profile as the ideal free safety candidate, Marcus Allen and Jordan Dangerfield would obviously be more experienced and familiar with running the defense.
And Kelly was also chosen for those reps over Dravon Askew-Henry and P.J. Locke, a pair of college free agent safeties they added to the roster after the draft. So why him? And does that mean anything—at least, anything that might matter later this summer, and even into the fall?
I think it’s fair to say that he would be outside the roster bubble right now, but perhaps they see something they like in Kelly that they are interested in exploring further. They actually list him as a defensive back and he played cornerback in the AAF. But he did display the ability to pick the ball off, so perhaps that has a lot to do with their desire to see him line up in that free safety role.
Of course some minor personnel decision in May can become completely meaningless and forgotten about by the time training camp rolls around. This could very well mean nothing. But we also do see players start to draw attention to themselves at this time of year, as Mike Hilton did a few years ago.