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: Game Edition – Will Diontae Spencer state a strong case for a roster spot on offense and special teams?
As it usually the case by now—really, pretty much always the case—there are only a handful of roster spots that are open at this point in the offseason, but there are many players still vying for them. One can argue that there are still two wide receiver positions not yet set in stone, but the opportunity to crack the roster for those outside of the bubble is slim.
The name many have zeroed in on is Diontae Spencer, in his first preseason after spending several years in the CFL. The undersized wide receiver has not caught a pass in two games—he has a total of two catches, and has dropped at least one ball—but he has two successful end-arounds and a handful of positive returns.
The Steelers gave Spencer all of the second half to work returns in the third preseason game, but he didn’t have much of anything to work with and thus did not have the opportunity to make much of an impact or further his case for a spot on the 53-man roster.
But it’s do-or-die time, and one can assume that he’s going to get most if not all of the return opportunities. With a number of wide receivers like JuJu Smith-Schuster and Donte Moncrief unlikely to play, there should be chances for him to go tonight, and he really needs to make a couple of quality plays on offense. Like, a 50-yard touchdown. Do that, plus return a punt for a score, and then we can talk.