The Pittsburgh Steelers are now in Latrobe at Saint Vincent College, where they have held their training camp sessions since 1966. While the vast majority of the legwork of building the 90-man roster is done, there is always some fine tinkering to do. Now it’s time to figure out who is worthy of a roster spot, and what their role will be.
The team made some bold moves this offseason and in some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago. That would especially be the case at wide receiver and inside linebacker, where they’re bound to have new starters.
How will those position groups sort themselves out? How will the young players advance into their expected roles? Will the new coaches be up to the task? Who is looking good in practice? Who is sitting out due to injury?
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 Jordan Dangerfield playing with the third-team safety group mean for him?
So far through the first two days of training camp, third-year veteran safety Jordan Dangerfield, who has also spent a number of years on the practice squad, has been pairing with rookie college free agent P.J. Locke. Working with the third-team safety group. Behind second-year fifth-round pick Marcus Allen and first-year AAF product Kameron Kelly.
What does that mean? Right now, practically nothing, I would say. Even back in the spring, Head Coach Mike Tomlin made it pretty clear that reps were not intended to be distributed equitably, but rather with an eye toward giving opportunities to those who need it more.
Dangerfield has been in the league, and in the Steelers’ system, longer than most players on the roster. He doesn’t need the work. But Allen is a second-year guy who missed a lot of training camp last year, and Kelly is new to them and a guy who has some potential. They want to see more of these players, and so…they are.
That doesn’t mean that they are souring on Dangerfield. After all, he did spend time in the spring running first-team when Sean Davis missed some time (as did Kelly, mind you). The Steelers know what he can do at this point in his career, even if he’s seemingly often been placed on the backburner.
Now, with that said, there is always the possibility of getting passed up when you’re lower on the depth chart, even temporarily. The reason the coaches want to get a better look at these two is because they think they have potential to help the team out. And if they show that potential, with the increased opportunities, it could be at Dangerfield’s expense. But we’re a long way off from that right now, just heading into padded practices.