The Pittsburgh Steelers are now training camp, following the most unique offseason in the NFL since at least World War II. While it didn’t involve a player lockout, teams still did not have physical access to their players, though they were at least able to meet with them virtually.
Even training camp will look much different from the norm, and a big part of that will be the fact that there will be no games along the way to prepare for. There will be no preseason played in 2020, so the first time the Steelers take the field in 2020 will be for the season opener against the New York Giants.
Before we get there, however, there are a number of issues that are outstanding on this team, and this year’s edition of training camp will not provide the level of thoroughness that teams are normally used to in trying to answer those questions.
Questions like, what is the starting offensive line going to look like? Will it include Zach Banner or Chukwuma Okorafor? Who will be the primary nose tackle? How will Ben Roethlisberger look—and the other quarterbacks as well? Now, we even have questions about whether or not players will be in quarantine.
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: Will the Steelers move Minkah Fitzpatrick around the defense this year?
As is customary during the offseason, we have been given mixed messages about a variety of things that the Steelers may or may not be exploring this year. ordinarily, though, it doesn’t all happen on the same day.
Recently, we had both Minkah Fitzpatrick and his position coach, Tom Bradley, say that they don’t believe the Steelers intend to move him around much this season from his free safety position, where he played so well (at an All-Pro level) in 2019.
Then Mike Tomlin was asked about these comments and said that he gets a kick out of reporters talking about what they hear. He went on to say that they are exciting about exploring the versality that he offers, but that they’re not going to tip their hand in training camp.
So basically, we don’t know anything. Maybe they’re going to leave him fairly stationary at free safety. Maybe they’ll move him around a bit. Maybe he will really be used as a chess piece, especially depending upon the matchup that week.
In Fitzpatrick’s remarks, it did sound to me a bit like he doesn’t really want to be moved around this year, talking about how he can still make plays for the defense without being moved around even if defenses try to throw away from him, saying that part of being a free safety is knowing how to be at the right place at the right time.