The Steelers are already out of training camp and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, informally known as the South Side facility. It’s where they otherwise train all year round, and the shift from Saint Vincent College for training camp back to Pittsburgh signals the approaching arrival of the regular season.
The team had a good few weeks of work up in Latrobe, but there are still unsettled questions that need answering. There are a few position battles yet to be determined, whether one considers the quarterback job up for grabs, or even remotely in the mix.
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 even coming out of training camp, we’ll only uncover more questions as we go along. We’ll be discussing them here on a daily basis for the community to “talk amongst yourselves”, as Linda Richman might say on Coffee Talk.
Question: What will George Pickens do tonight as an encore following his impressive preseason debut last week?
He only made three catches last Saturday against the Seattle Seahawks, the first one being rather run of the mill. But his second and third grabs, informed by the reporting of his daily exploits across the Steelers’ training camp practice field at Saint Vincent College, have fueled the fires of the media machines that cover the game, and it’s all aboard the George Pickens hype train.
His second catch was a highlight-reel-worthy touchdown at the very end of the back right corner of the end zone, scored as a 26-yard touchdown off the arm of Mason Rudolph. He showed veteran usage of his wingspan to create separation and managed to get both feet inbounds while maintaining possession of the football for a meme-worthy display of skill.
The second catch another fine effort, showing great use of hands to catch the ball away from his body while adjusting his frame to navigate through a contested effort by the defensive back. But there was so much more in his game than just when he had the ball in his hands.
He put a couple of defensive backs on their behinds as a blocker, for example. Admittedly, he is still a developing route runner, and that’s not going to change dramatically from one preseason game to the next, but it’s still something we should take a close look at.
I would suspect that Pickens is going to get a lot of playing time tonight, logging snaps with both the first- and second-team units, playing with both Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett as he played with both Trubisky and Rudolph last week. Can they find him down the field again? And in the end zone?