Guess what, folks. It’s training camp time. And that means it’s time for training camp questions. For the first time since 2019, the Pittsburgh Steelers are actually back at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe after having been forced to remain in Pittsburgh, where they held their past two training camps inside of the Field Formerly Known as Heinz.
Even though the Steelers are back on very familiar ground, more specifically on that of Chuck Noll Field, this is a training camp that is unusually full of certainty. After all, they haven’t had a genuine quarterback battle in a couple of decades, but they have one now with Mitch Trubisky, Kenny Pickett, and Mason Rudolph.
We’ve got yet another new offensive line, with some incoming veterans in James Daniels and Mason Cole. Myles Jack is in at inside linebacker, replacing Joe Schobert, and we’ll have to see if Devin Bush can return to form after last year’s dismal display.
There’s still so much going on, and training camp will only create more questions as we go along, even as it starts to provide some answers. We’ll be covering them here on a daily basis for the community to “talk amongst yourselves”, as Linda Richman might say on Coffee Talk.
Question: How good can Larry Ogunjobi be for this defense?
Let’s start off with the fact that the Chicago Bears agreed to pay Larry Ogunjobi over $13 million per season for three years until he failed a physical that indicated his recovery from a recently sustained foot injury was not where they were comfortable with, given the money exchanging hands involved.
In other words, from a talent perspective, his talent is clearly in demand. Even the ‘prove it’ deal that he signed with the Steelers was a nice chunk of change at $8 million with no strings attached, no incentives to be earned.
The team has been cautious with him, the big man donning pads for the first time just recently, but it didn’t take him long, in head coach Mike Tomlin’s words, to make his presence felt. Yet the Steelers’ front seven has been dominating the offensive line, anyway.
My real question is this: how well can he duplicate the impact that Stephon Tuitt had at his best while he was here? When the Steelers had Cameron Heyward, T.J. Watt, Bud Dupree, and Tuitt just firing on all cylinders, opposing offenses stood no chance.
Heyward and Watt are still All-Pro players. Alex Highsmith has the potential to be another Dupree at his best. Ogunjobi comes to the Steelers with an already pretty proven track record, and he’ll be placed in positions here that will allow him to win, including with the talent that’s around him.
So can he be a legitimate difference-maker, or will he just be a quality starter? That’s all assuming that his foot holds up through the duration of the season. And what are the prospects of him being retained beyond this season? But I suppose that’s a question for another day—or another month.