The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
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: Can Zach Gentry work his way into being a contributor this season, in spite of the difficulties of the offseason?
A fifth-round pick in 2019, Zach Gentry was a quarterback who moved to tight end during his time at Michigan. When the Steelers drafted him, he was understandably raw, and that was reflected in the fact that he was left inactive for 12 games, even though they only had two other tight ends. It’s partially why they led the league in snaps with six linemen on the field.
Even without in-person workouts all year, however, he should have been able to experience some growth from a mental perspective over the course of this offseason, to put him ahead of where he was during the 2019 season.
What sort of opportunities he has to get physical work in during training camp will be a big determining factor with respect to whether or not he will be asked to be an offensive contributor this year. The confounding variable, of course, is the fact that the two tight ends the team has ahead of them have both been prone to missing time due to injuries, so he may have no choice but to contribute.
At 6’8” and 265 pounds, Gentry is an intriguing prospect who does have some receiving ability. If they want to use a package with a bunch of tall targets, they could throw him out there at least, say, in the red zone.