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5 questions to be answered between minicamp and training camp

The Steelers ended their minicamp early Thursday, leaving a few questions yet to be answered heading into the official start of the preseason.


Even Steelers coach Mike Tomlin says this is a team in transition.

What level of that transition does the team currently sit? That's really the only question that came out of the Steelers' two-day minicamp - including the cancelled third day.

So much of the transition has been completed, right?

Maybe the part where they don't hit each other and the competition hasn't purely established itself. The groundwork has been laid, concepts discussed and plays diagrammed.

While it isn't exactly rare for a team to cancel what would've been the final practice (Tampa Bay and New England, among other teams, cancelled it as well), it tends to instill confidence in those following the team the necessary work was done, and it was time to move onto the final installment of the offseason.

Are there any more cuts and/or signings coming?

It wouldn't be wise of any veteran to assume their position is set right now. Players like Ryan Clark have to notice the selection of Shamarko Thomas along with the continued development of Robert Golden. It doesn't mean we should expect a cut, but entering the final year of his contract, worth around $4.75 million, that is by no means guaranteed at this point.

Why did they wait so long to move Sylvester outside?

If he's played inside his entire career, and he was signed for depth, how did the Steelers suddenly get enough depth inside they can afford to move a player to another position? That makes for an intriguing question this offseason, but the answer could potentially be found in the further development of Marshall McFadden, and the possibility of another signing at the position.

Veteran 3-4 ILB Desmond Bishop was released recently by Green Bay, maybe he's on the Steelers radar. Maybe Sean Spence really is going to play this year. Maybe they love what they've seen of Vince Williams and feel he has more upside than Sylvester does at that spot.

How much did Markus Wheaton really miss?

On one hand, he missed the chance to run around in shorts with his new teammates. On the other, he missed a lot of meetings and terminology immersion. They can send him diagrams and glossaries all day, but it doesn't sink in until the player is applying it on the field. He'll be a little behind at the start of camp, without a doubt.

Is that the end of the world, though? It depends on how hard he'll need to work to get back up to speed. Things like hamstring injuries creep into the minds of teams when a player has to "work extra hard" to get caught up.

What can be expected in the remaining six weeks before the start of training camp July 26?

Anything and everything and nothing. There still could be roster-related movement and injuries. There's always the dreaded "arrests" stories and other unsavory things that some teams have to endure before getting players to camp. It goes back to the team in transition thing, though. Any smart-thinking coach would use the time at the end of OTAs to remind players to stay out of trouble, but the ones getting in that trouble may or may not have listened.

Overall, any news springing up between now and late July is more likely bad than good. But that's true of every team.