The Pittsburgh Steelers are gearing up for the 2021 regular season, and a part of that preparation is when players come together to work on their craft. This means different events like Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and mandatory minicamp. Now that rookie minicamp is a thing of the past, the team now prepares for the final phase of OTAs, which begins Tuesday.
Official offseason dates for the Steelers— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) May 6, 2021
Rookie Minicamp: May 14-16
OTAs: May 25-27, June 1-3, June 7-10
Mandatory Minicamp: June 15-17
In a typical year, OTAs are basically an extension of mandatory minicamp. The only difference being OTAs are not mandatory. This fact has made news this year as several teams, including the Steelers, have told their owners they won’t be showing up at OTAs this year.
There are several phases of OTAs, and they are preparing for the third, and final, phase which is the most football-like of all the phases. After Phase 1, which is just workouts, and Phase 2, which begins individual drills, Phase 3 is when actual 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted. In other words, this is as close to football as you get during the OTA workouts.
In case you were curious, here is a description of each phase, per the NFL:
Phase One consists of the first two weeks of the program with activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only.
Phase Two consists of the next three weeks of the program. On-field workouts may include individual player instruction and drills as well as team practice conducted on a “separates” basis. No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted.
Phase Three consists of the next four weeks of the program. Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity, or “OTAs”. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.
There is the lay of the land, and while the Steelers did say they wouldn’t be attending voluntary workouts, several players, including the nine rookie and eight undrafted rookie free agents (UDFAs), have been taking advantage of the work with the coaching staff while some veterans stay away from the team facility.
This brings up the question of who will be there, and who won’t?
It is likely a safe bet the NFLPA team representative, Cam Heyward, won’t be in attendance, but you have to wonder about a player like Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger usually attends these workouts and uses them as a ramp up to mandatory minicamp, and then training camp. Will he stick with the veterans/players association, or will he attend? If he does attend, will his receivers follow?
This may just be football in shorts, but several storylines will come out of these workouts one way or another.
Throughout every stretch of the offseason, be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.