clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Steelers News: Looking at the Steelers biggest camp battle

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Kansas City Chiefs v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

It has been a one-of-a-kind offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020. With the scheduled start of training camp just days away, it looks like we’ll have to wait until opening weekend to see the Steelers take the field. Just because the NFL has cancelled the preseason doesn’t mean we stop providing you with features, commentary and opinions to tide you over throughout the offseason!

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at the battle for the Steelers starting right tackle position.

Let’s get to the news:

  • The Steelers will have to figure out how much shuffling they wish to do on the offensive line

Guard, tackle spots highlight Steelers’ top training camp competition

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

In a typical year, some clarity would be provided on position battles by the time NFL players report to training camp.

Injuries take place in offseason practices. Rookies can impress in workouts. Others can regress. Spots on the de facto depth chart can be interchanged.

This, however, is anything but an ordinary year, and when the Pittsburgh Steelers report to training camp Tuesday at Heinz Field, they will encounter the most unusual training camp in NFL history.

After no offseason workouts were conducted league-wide because of the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL and its union made it more difficult on players by canceling the entire preseason.

Without the benefit of games, chances to earn roster spots or compete for starting jobs will be few. What you saw at the end of 2019 might be what you get to start 2020. Still, these are a few of the position matchups that must be decided before the Sept. 14 opener at the New York Giants:

Left guard

Ramon Foster’s retirement created an opening between center Maurkice Pouncey and left tackle Alejandro Villanueva. B.J. Finney’s departure via free agency heightened the need for depth.

Stefen Wisniewski was signed as a free agent, and the Steelers selected guard Kevin Dotson in the fourth round of the draft. Yet, when camp opens, Matt Feiler is expected to get the initial snaps with the starters.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Christian Kuntz is hoping to catch on with his hometown team

Kuntz is happy to be home

By: Teresa Varley,

Get to know Steelers linebacker Christian Kuntz

Christian Kuntz

Linebacker/Long Snapper

Duquesne University

Most entertaining person you follow on social media? I don’t follow that many entertaining people. Kevin Hart. He’ll film himself on set messing with people. It’s funny. I will take a couple of minutes out of my day to watch his story because it makes me laugh.

Must have food? Definitely a good steak and red potatoes.

Must see show? Game of Thrones

Morning person or night owl? Morning person.

Who is your football mentor or inspiration? Probably my pap, my grandfather, Lou Dellana. Growing up he would tell us how he used to play football. He was about 180 pounds playing offensive line. That tells you how times have changed. He was pretty motivational, always there for us, me and my brothers, taking us to practice. I remember that most.

What motivates you? To prove people wrong. I couldn’t play at Duquesne and I walked on there. People who say I couldn’t make it to the NFL and here I am trying to prove them wrong and make a team.

What is your football mindset/approach? Do anything the coach asks you to do. Play offense, defense, whatever. I will do anything to get on the field and help the team win.

When did you start to dream about playing in the NFL? The fourth grade when I started playing football.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Evaluating the Steelers depth chart for the offensive line

Steelers’ 90-man roster: OL

By: Jim Wexell,

ON THE ROSTER NOW: J.C. Hassenauer, John Keenoy, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Christian Montano, Kevin Dotson, Jarron Jones, Chuks Okorafor, Stefen Wisniewski, Zach Banner, Anthony Coyle, Christian DiLauro, Matt Feiler, Derwin Gray, Alejandro Villanueva.

ON THE ROSTER IN SEPTEMBER: Mike Tomlin never has kept more than nine offensive linemen. In fact, in the years when the line was in transition – 2012, 2013 and 2015 – he kept only eight. The staff went strictly with what they had on hand and didn’t attempt to guess on potential projects. That could be the case this season as only eight linemen appear to be locks. There are a couple of young players who could press that number with breakout camps, but in a limited preseason, let’s take a gamble here and say they keep only eight.

STAT THAT STANDS OUT: The Steelers allowed 32 sacks last season, a 33 percent increase over 2018 and the most they’ve given up since 2015. But let’s not view that as problematic since, again, the Steelers were working with novice quarterbacks, which sometimes hindered the offense’s ability to get into the right play and set the blocking. But what we can view as problematic is the fact that three of the four tackles with any experience are, at this point, headed into the final seasons of their contracts. That’s the stat that stands out today.

KEY DEPARTURES: The retirement of underrated left guard Ramon Foster will be felt on the field and in the locker room. As the most experienced vet, and the only Steelers lineman to have played in a Super Bowl, Foster was a key to team and unit chemistry. Also gone is his versatile backup, B.J. Finney, who cried publicly the day he signed as an undrafted rookie with his favorite childhood team. Last year’s undrafted rookie on the opening-day roster, Fred Johnson, was lost to Cincinnati in mid-October amid a roster shuffle. The Bengals believe they got a steal in Johnson, who started their last game at left tackle.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • BTSC articles you may have missed

The un-retirement of Antonio Brown

The Steelers will host “The Washington Football Team” in December

Matt Canada’s potential value to the Steelers offense

Will the Steelers use their fullback extensively in 2020?

Alexander Myles looks to move up from the Steelers 2019 practice squad

  • Social Media Madness