With the Steelers having reported to Heinz Field and all-in for the upcoming NFL campaign, the story lines are in abundance. There are so many questions surrounding the Steelers and their preparation for the 2020 season. With that offered up, BTSC tries to answer some of those poignant wonderings ahead of time. Take a gander at some bold statements on this and more as we label them as fact or fiction.
Are we on point? Only time will tell.
Predicting the 2020 NFL season is fruitless.
Sure it’s easy for guys like Colin Cowherd to proclaim the Baltimore Ravens as 16-0 champions, but is he going to say he’s wrong when it doesn’t actually happen. Of course not. The one thing that isn’t hard to predict in 2020 is that COVID-19 will rear her ugly head and make the NFL season very unpredictable. Because of an injury, the Steelers, or their opponents, could lose a key player, or twelve, on the Saturday or Sunday morning before kickoff by being added to the COVID list. This could completely flip the script and put odds makers in Vegas and the such in a state of flummox,
Veterans will have an edge when it comes to sticking on the 53-Man Roster over undrafted free agents.
The prospect of this is definitely likely. Teams are going to stick with who they know over a guy that wasn’t good enough to be selected in the NFL Draft or a long-term project. But the Steelers and every other team have an increased practice squad that also includes a number of slots that don’t restrict eligibility. Teams could also call up practice squad players up to 90 minutes before kickoff. But players such as Dan McCullers, Robert Spillane and UG3 (Ulysses Gilbert III) are going to get nods over the unproven more so in a pandemic year due to undrafted free agents and late-round rookies getting no game-time experience.
The battle between Chuks Okorafor and Zach Banner is the most intriguing Training Camp competition.
While this is the highest profile battle in camp, there’s a consolation prize for both players. The winner gets the right tackle spot and more scrutiny, while the other still gets quite a bit of playing time as the additional tight end. Really, I think Cam Sutton and Mike Hilton are going to have a fight on their hands for the slot corner spot. While Hilton is the incumbent, Sutton has been a strong reserve. This could be eventually a loser leaves town match.
The first alternate at outside linebacker is already decided.
It seems like the media and fans are penciling third-round choice Alex Highsmith as the next man up at OLB in Pittsburgh. But don’t think for a second that Ola Adeniyi and Tuzar Skipper aren’t going to go to the ends of the earth (or Heinz Field) scratching and clawing to get that designation and possibly the starting nod in 2021.
In the next few weeks, the Steelers will announce no fans will be granted entry to Heinz Field for the 2020 season.
I am far from a naysayer, but with what other sports are doing in the way of not opening the doors to paying customers...I just don’t think the landscape is ready for the NFL to follow suit. The NHL product has been very good coming off of the television or streaming device. The NBA, despite the weird green screen fans or however they are doing it, is getting done as well. I think that a hard decision is going to have to made by the NFL soon in the name of public safety.
Are these statements valid? We will soon see. I, personally, am not endorsing all five of these scenarios, but it’s what my gut tells me will occur. What matters most are your opinions on the matter. Please state them in the comments below.