Tag Archives: Training Camp

Training Camp Preview: Wide Open Competition 

As training camp rolls around, the Steelers go to Saint Vincent College with a lot of receivers. Not only do they have quantity, but also quality players in that position. They’ll be a very interesting group to watch during camp, how it plays out there as we go into the season. Expect a lot of great battles during camp and push guys to grow. With Darrius Heyward-Bey, Justin Hunter, Demarcus Ayers, Sammie Coates, Cobi Hamilton, and maybe a few others rounding out the receivers group, there is going to be tough cuts. The player with the best ability on special teams will make the final spot or two.

News broke today that Coates got a scope done and will miss some of camp. That already puts him behind the eight ball. His entire career as a Steeler has been injuries, and when he isn’t injured, his past injuries affect his play. He still has a catching issue which will need to be shown as fixed during camp. Coates could be a surprise cut if he doesn’t play much this camp and preseason. If he can stay healthy and learn to catch the ball more consistently, he could develop into a solid player.

Players that’ll be lower on the depth chart like Ayers, DHB, Hunter, and Hamilton, will fight for one or maybe two spots max on the final roster. There’s a lot to like about Ayers and what he showed and could provide special teams ability if needed. DHB has made his special teams play known around the league and continues to show his speed on offense. Hunter and Hamilton are similar. They both have size and can make contributions on offense, but you could question if either could be talented enough to make this roster. Popular expectations is for DHB to make this roster and Ayers could make it as well. If he doesn’t make the final roster, then hopefully he will be picked up on the practice squad.

The starters are all locks and so is JuJu Smith-Schuster. It’s a waste of time talking about Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant as your one-two punch. Eli Rogers is coming off of a solid season as well, so that’s four making your final 53. But the question is which is going to start in the slot for you? It’ll be a good battle between Rogers and JuJu. Rogers showed good promise last year and looks to be a speed slot receiver, where JuJu shows to be a strong possession receiver. No matter who wins, the 4th receiver will get a lot of snaps. Expect a lot of four-receiver sets.

The biggest question is if the Steelers want to keep five or six receivers on the final roster. Maybe they keep seven if someone blows them away on special teams. It’ll be exciting to watch this battle, and expectations are most, if not all of these guys, will have jobs during this season. No matter if it’s with the Steelers or not. Either way, feeling confident in the depth at receiver is a understatement. It’ll be interesting in how it checks out through this year’s competition.


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Steelers Training Camp: Scenarios to Watch For

The Steelers are heading back to Latrobe for another training camp. They have a lot of competition as they do every year; some to circumstances of possible holdouts or starting positions being up for grabs. So here are the things to watch for this training camp for the Steelers.

Tight End Depth Chart

Tight end is a question mark this year. Jesse James showed he is growing and can be a decent starter. If he had a good off-season, then he will be a good option for the starting role, but all in all this position doesn’t have much depth that I see. You got Scott Orndoff, Xavier Grimble, and Phazahn Odom behind James. You would think Grimble is the number two, but I think it’s a open competition going into camp. Orndoff could be a surprise and could bring something to this offense. Grimble has shown an ability to make plays on the catching side of his game. Odom brings great size, but is extremely raw. He needs to develop a lot, but if he’s coached up well enough them maybe he will show something this preseason.

I believe all of these four will make the team, three being on the 53 and the other on the practice squad. That’s of course if these four prove themselves and the Steelers don’t make moves.

Cornerbacks

Cornerbacks seem to always get attention in camp. This year it seems Artie Burns is a lock on the outside and Ross Cockrell opposite of him, but there will be open competition for that slot role. William Gay is back, but is older so he might be slowing down. Rookie Cameron Sutton and, who is basically a rookie in Senquez Golson, will provide competition. We will see who wins this battle throughout camp, but at the very least, it’ll only make the team better. Also, I’m very interested in watching Brian Allen and see what he does.  He’s a tall, rangy corner. He’s raw and has good skill. Hopefully, he can develop and show the coaches something on special teams.

Running Backs

Running back doesn’t have the question of who the starter is, but where the depth shakes out. Knile Davis adds experience and special teams ability, where as James Conner adds toughness and a great one-two punch with Le’Veon Bell. Everyone will be watching to see if Bell holds out of camp because of his contract situation. If he does hold out, then pay close attention to Conner. I think he is a great story, but a even better football player. He runs hard and is a team player. I think Fitzgerald Toussaint will push Davis for the last spot, but I think Davis gets it with his special teams ability.

Wide Receivers

Everyone will be watching this overly-talented and impressive group. All eyes will be focused on Martavis Bryant and how he is after coming back from suspension. Watch and see if his chemistry with Ben Roethlisberger picks up where it left off, or if there is an issue there. Bryant made some comments recently saying how he didn’t like Ben’s comments about him recently. Also watch JuJu Smith-Schuster and other young guys like Demarcus Ayers, Sammie Coates, Cobi Hamilton, and others like Darrius Heyward-Bey and Justin Hunter. This is a crowded group, but with all the talent that’s there, I expect great competition for those last spots available.

Linebackers

First off, watch Bud Dupree. He might be making a huge jump this season. He has showed us glimpses, but now he could become something to watch. He had a great offseason and might make a huge step forward this season. Of course, all eyes will be on T.J. Watt, as they should be, considering he was this year’s first round pick, but pay close attention to another rookie in Keion Adams. He was getting good reviews during minicamp so keep your eyes and ears open for him. He has good size and had good productivity during his college ball. He wouldn’t surprise me if he made the final 53.

Backup Quarterback

Landry Jones got a two-year deal this past offseason, but the Steelers also did something rare in drafting a quarterback in Josh Dobbs. He intrigues me in that he’s new, he’s young, and is very smart. He has some good abilities, but still has a ton to learn. I’m very excited to watch Dobbs and see if he can win that backup job. Lets not kid ourselves because Dobbs will probably not be the successor to Ben, but could be a much more reliable backup then Jones could be.

Jerald Hawkins

This guy is another player I’m very excited to watch. He got hurt early in his rookie year last year and was getting great reviews before then. He is still extremely young, so he has a lot more coaching up to do, but if he picks up where he left off last year and continues to grow, then you have a great backup to Alejandro Villanueva. Hopefully one day he will have starting potential, and with Al having contract issues, then maybe Hawkins is your next starting left tackle for the Steelers.


There always seems to be stories that come out of each training camp. Sometimes it’s injury or maybe it’s a diamond in the rough. Or maybe, everyone will compete and create a championship level team with both or neither of the scenarios happening. So enjoy the next week of build up, because Steelers season is here. Enjoy what is to come of building what we all hope is a championship season.


Please consider checking out my new blog. I write about everything Pittsburgh sports, including Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates. I, of course, will continue writing for Let’s Talk Steelers and Penguins, but on the side I will be making articles on this website.

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So please consider checking it out and enjoy. Thanks again for considering and reading the articles!