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: Who will line up as the primary number two wide receiver when OTAs begin this week?
Can you believe that OTAs are just around the corner already? While we’re still technically in the ‘voluntary’ portion of the offseason, this is really when people start getting pissed off at players who are not around.
The first OTA session kicks off on Tuesday, and it should be the first time in 2019 that the first-team offense does anything. Ben Roethlisberger sounds like he will be there, at least, and I’m imagining there will be very good attendance all around.
It will have a bit of a different look without Antonio Brown, of course, but we know that JuJu Smith-Schuster is taking his place as the number one wide receiver. The question now is who will be the number two.
That’s a question to which they will spent the summer seeking an answer, but the on-field portion of that process gets underway this week, and it’s understandable that people are interested in who might be getting the ‘first crack’, so to speak.
There are presumably only two options, those being James Washington and Donte Moncrief. Washington is a former second-round pick entering his second season and got a lot of playing time as a rookie even though he didn’t perform much. Moncrief is a bit of a journeyman at this point in his career, signed via free agency, but can be a bridge starter.
It would be pretty surprising if it were not one of those two. Eli Rogers and Ryan Switzer have pretty much always been looked at as slot players, and Diontae Johnson is a rookie who was limited in rookie minicamp already.
My guess would be that Washington will be the first to line up with the starters. He was already doing that in OTAs last year when Brown wasn’t showing up, and he should know the offense better than Moncrief, given that he has a year under his belt running it.