Welcome to the dog days of summer. As the meteorological calendar turns from spring to summer, the National Football League goes on hiatus until the end of July when teams start to report to their respective training camps. For the Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the few teams who still has their training camp away from their home city, July 25th is the date when they will report to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA.
When looking back at the offseason workouts, which include rookie minicamp, Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and mandatory minicamp, there is no way anyone can say the Steelers didn’t accomplish their ultimate goal.
What is the ultimate goal?
It isn’t getting the rookies acclimated.
It isn’t having the new free agents getting to run with their new teammates.
And it certainly isn’t getting the team in front of the media to help silence the critics regarding the rocky offseason of 2018.
No, the ultimate goal is to just stay healthy — mission accomplished.
I can only imagine the joy it brings Mike Tomlin and his coaching staff when they think about having all of their players ready and available when training camp starts. Granted, a freak injury or accident during these dog days could change that, but you don’t see players with lingering issues, or severe injuries which took place during those practices in shorts.
If you think back to last year’s offseason workouts, you might remember two players being lost for the year due to injury. Jerald Hawkins tore his quadriceps, and Jake McGee tore his ACL. This year the team didn’t have any injuries like this, and Mike Tomlin realizes what lies ahead.
“I like the way we finished with our work here, continuing to add elements to situational football to educate our guys,” Tomlin told Teresa Varley of Steelers.com. “We did some mayday field goal-like work at the end of the two-minute drill. We have been working the two-minute drill, we just added to that today as an example of just increasing the complexities of the play and making it more football-like.
“I like the energy. I left them with the message that they need to show up ready. We have outlined that more in detail about what specifically what that means for each guy. Rest assured that conditioning and readiness has to be the most significant element of their time here in the upcoming weeks.”
The players now have time away. Time to vacation, but also time to ready themselves for the upcoming season. For those players who were on the 9-6-1 2018 team, they know all too well how things can spiral out of control, and they want nothing more than to have the opportunity to right those wrongs during the regular season.
But you take it one step at a time, and the Steelers have successfully gotten through their offseason workouts injury free. Next up? Training camp...which is another beast in itself. July 25th can’t come fast enough.