Steelers Training Camp 2013: A look back over the last three weeks

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

From Marcus Gilbert's dramatic conditioning test to scores of injuries, here's a look back at the Steelers' 2013 Training Camp.

It started off with The Renegade, Behind The Steel Curtain's in-depth dive into the team and what to expect over the 2013 season.

It ends with a sense of uncertainty over those expectations.

Not in a negative way, mind you, but more a lack of clarity. Is this team good? Is it not? Who will make plays on defense? Who will stay healthy?

The list could go on.

From Marcus Gilbert's infamous conditioning test to one final training camp practice in shorts, just as many questions have been raised as answered, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Of course, there's never a question about Brett Keisel's arrival, beard, dump truck and all. But there are fair questions surrounding the defensive line, with the emergence of Al Woods as a leading contender for Training Camp Darling after his performance in the only preseason game that requires a stop back in Latrobe afterward.

Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders made headlines in March, but not many in August. His ability to make positive headlines in September and beyond is a big key to this season.

It's hard to question this year's Training Camp Darling - rookie WR Markus Wheaton made a great run at it, as did OLB Alan Baxter. But rehabbing linebacker Sean Spence, who's sayin' there's a chance of returning this season, takes top honors.

But he will never be The Sharknado. And don't sleep on Loni Fangupo.

Injuries descended upon Latrobe like the yearly plague they are. Matt Spaeth with a foot injury that could put him out two months. Plaxico Burress blew out his rotator cuff and has since been placed on Injured Reserve. Cortez Allen has a surgery "minor" enough to make him miss the preseason. If you're a tight end on the Steelers' roster right now, odds are better you were out of football in 2012 than having been on the Steelers roster - maybe that's not a bad thing though.

The depth at offensive tackle on the other hand...after the curious decision to sign D'Anthony Batiste and actually give him snaps at left tackle, the Steelers don't appear any better off behind Mike Adams and Marcus Gilbert - even after changing their positions on the fly.

Get better Nik Embernate - the early front-runner for Training Camp Darling in 2014.

The running backs competition started as the early favorite for the most talked about position battle, and it failed to disappoint. While it isn't designed to be a run-by-committee approach in 2013, it hasn't been said who the main guy will be. But still, Steelers fans love them some Le'Veon Bell, and the level of Bell's hype surpassed even that of Mike Wallace in 2009.

There's no message being sent by running Bell with the starters, though. Ahem.

Pass rushers were in the spotlight plenty often, considering the recent health status of LaMarr Woodley, the viability of Jason Worilds as a starter and the possibility of contribution from Jarvis Jones immediately, there's plenty to discuss.

Let's not forget these one-off moments:

Troy Polamalu's "birth certificate contusion

Steelers are more "family oriented" in 2013

The Standard is the Standard in placard form

No one tells Maurkice Pouncey anything

Suisham bangin' from 60

Again, the list could go on. It sure will here on Behind The Steel Curtain, even as training camp ends, our work is only just beginning.

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