2021 Offseason Questions: When Will Starting O-Line Actually Practice Together?

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: When will the Steelers’ injury offensive linemen get back on the field?

The Steelers’ biggest question mark on their entire roster, arguably, is the state of their offensive line unit. Three of their five projected starters have hardly even worked in team drills at all since the start of training camp.

While Zach Banner is rounding the final turn on his rehab from a torn ACL, Chukwuma Okorafor and Kevin Dotson have been nursing minor injuries since the start of camp. Trai Turner also did not participate yesterday, but did not display any visible signs of injury. He could have possibly been given a veteran’s day off.

Now, all of them have been on the field in some capacity at one point or another. It’s not like anybody’s on crutches or anything like that. Realistically, any of them could be in the lineup any day now. But the bottom line is that they’ve barely gotten any work, either in isolation or as a unit, and that’s a concern.

For all we know, Mike Tomlin decided that they would take it easy until the final off day before their first preseason game next week, and all of them will be on the field tomorrow. That certainly would be nice. But all we do know is that, if these guys are going to be a cohesive unit, they need to practice together at some point. We’ll know a lot more, one way or another, tomorrow.

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