Attendance is the hot topic these days when talking about Organized Team Activities (OTAs), and the Pittsburgh Steelers have their share of superstars who are doing other things besides playing football at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.
We all know Le’Veon Bell isn’t showing up anytime soon, but what about Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger — who have both missed at least the past four workouts?
According to NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala, Maurkice Pouncey said these absences were known.
Maurkice Pouncey said Ben Roethlisberger has been on a family vacation, thus his absence from OTAs. Multiple #Steelers said Antonio Brown's absence is only b/c of his preference to work w/ his starting QB. Players uniformly said this isn't holding back any "install" of new OC's O— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) May 31, 2018
Other sources have suggested Brown will return to OTAs when Roethlisberger returns. Either way, despite OTAs being 100-percent voluntary, it seems as if none of the aforementioned absences are shockers to the organization.
Time to check up on other news swirling around the Steelers after two weeks of OTAs:
Big Ben missing isn’t a huge deal
While Roethlisberger vacations with family, it is a good chance for the younger quarterbacks, mainly Mason Rudolph, to get some extra reps. Rudolph talked about learning from “trial and error” and had nothing but good things to say about Joshua Dobbs and Landry Jones.
#Steelers rookie QB Mason Rudolph has gotten to practice only once w/ Ben Roethlisberger thus far. Said today he's learning plenty "from trial and error. Experience is the greatest teacher." Reiterated he's in a great QB room, praised Landry Jones and Josh Hobbs for their help.— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) May 31, 2018
Same offense, but different
Randy Fichtner is calling the shots now on offense, and while some fans are awaiting some sweeping changes, they shouldn’t hold their breath. According to Pouncey and Darrius Heyward-Bey, there is not going to be an overhaul of the offense, but just some small tweaks. And as for those absences of the stars, it won’t hinder the offensive progression at all.
#Steelers' Maurkice Pouncey, Darrius Hayward-Bey said O is not undergoing overhaul under Randy Fichtner, but rather just small tweaks. Said biggest change may be in what's called when. Both said absence of three stars in May not putting offense behind, that it's more abt optics.— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) May 31, 2018
T.J. Watt Time
Haven’t heard much from Watt this offseason, and Kinkhabwala was able to talk with him about his upcoming sophomore season.
#Steelers 2nd year OLB @_TJWatt on OTA time: "The biggest thing this time of year is, off the field, just hang out and build that team camaraderie that's going to help carry us into the postseason this year, hopefully."— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) May 31, 2018
TJ Watt not only offers a tremendous breakdown of his role at OLB, but he also shows he’s a generous soul. (Especially when it comes to calling upon his brother’s connections.) #Steelers pic.twitter.com/1j7woNyhLk— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) May 31, 2018
James Conner and Keion Adams talk about coming back strong this season, the rehab process, mental reps, their work at OTAs so far and more. pic.twitter.com/QqvOllJBXS— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) June 1, 2018