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: How much more time will T.J. Watt miss?
The Steelers very nearly entered training camp with a clean bill of health, with third-year outside linebacker providing that small blemish. T.J. Watt suffered a hamstring pull of some kind as he was completing his conditioning test on the first day of camp.
He was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform List shortly thereafter, and since then has been, well, physically unable to perform. In his place working with the starters has been veteran backup Anthony Chickillo, though with even the latter a bit banged up yesterday, second-year Olasunkanmi Adeniyi was given the opportunity to graduate to the starter level.
When the injury first occurred, Head Coach Mike Tomlin ensured that it would be of a short-term nature, but the Steelers have already gone through about a third of their training camp practices to be held at Saint Vincent College.
Watt did make the Pro Bowl last season, but he is also a young player who is still learning. He is also in just his second season playing on the left side on a full-time basis. Missing practice time is not the ideal scenario, though he missed time in the summer last year as well.
He has reportedly been working on the side fields, however, and looking as though he is nearing a return. It wouldn’t be surprising at all if we were to see him activated from the PUP List over the course of the next few days, even with the team trying to be cautious.