The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season is now in the books. It ended in spectacular fashion — though the wrong kind of spectacular — in a dismal postseason defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, sending them into an early offseason mode after going 12-4 in the regular season and winning the AFC North for the first time in three years.
Since then, they have lost several players in free agency who were key members of the offense and defense. Multiple starters retired, as well. They made few notable additions in free agency, and are banking on contributions on offense from their rookies, as well as perhaps a last ride for Ben Roethlisberger.
The only thing facing them now as they head into 2021 is more questions. Right now, they lack answers. They know that they have Roethlisberger for one more year, but was that even the right decision? How successful can Najee Harris be behind a questionable offensive line? What kind of changes can Matt Canada and Adrian Klemm bring to the offense? And how can the defense retain the status quo with the losses of Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson, and Mike Hilton?
These are the sorts of questions we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football is a year-round pastime and there are always questions to ask, though there is rarely a concrete answer. This is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all of their uncertainty.
Question: How will the final week of OTAs and minicamp differ from the earlier portions—and will we hear anything about it?
In the week leading up to Phase 3 of the offseason program (e.g., OTAs and mandatory minicamp) we learned from reports that there were some compromises made between the coaches and players in exchange for their attendance, which includes no 11-on-11 work. 7-on-7 drills were seemingly left open for discussion.
We can safely presume that the past weeks of OTAs have focused on things like cardio, fundamentals, and generally learning. In the final week of OTAs, though, will things pick up a bit? How will it differ from the past two weeks, if any? And how will OTAs differ from minicamp? Will the latter have any 11-on-11 work?
And will we know anything? Nobody who has spoken to the media so far has really talked much at all about what is going on specifically in practice, in terms of what they are doing. Some players have made general comments about this or that being a priority, but the nature of the work has been left up to the imagination.
We only have about two more weeks of activity before the league goes back on hiatus during the down time ahead of the opening of training camps. The good news (for us, anyway), is that the Steelers play in the Hall of Fame game. So they will report a bit earlier than others. After these two weeks, and until then, information will be scarce. It would be nice to learn what we can now.