The Pittsburgh Steelers are gearing up for the first day of mandatory minicamp Tuesday, and there are plenty of talking points for the black and gold as they head to Heinz Field for their three days of practices.
If you are wondering what teams can, and cannot, do during these minicamp workouts, check out the article below:
Speaking of talking points, or narratives, here are five key storylines to keep an eye on throughout the week:
1. The Canada Effect
All eyes will be on the Steelers’ new offensive coordinator Matt Canada. The team has already started to build the new offense from the line up, especially with the help of offensive line coach Adrian Klemm, throughout Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and they will look to further build the new look offense during minicamp. Will players like Ben Roethlisberger be able to get acclimated to a new system so late in his career? Only time will tell...
2. Rookie Acclimation
There are extremely high hopes for the 2021 NFL Draft class. Najee Harris is expected to contribute right away, Pat Freiermuth is also expected to be a Day 1 contributor and Kendrick Green could be the team’s starting center when the dust settles. This is all well and good, but the players have to go out and not just look the part. They have to make the plays necessary to win the job and help the team win football games. A huge step in the maturation process, and one the 2020 rookies didn’t have, will take place during minicamp.
The Steelers had tremendous attendance during OTAs, but several big names weren’t in attendance. There was no Joe Haden, David DeCastro and even T.J. Watt. This week should be different, after all, it is called mandatory minicamp. If one of the veterans doesn’t attend, and it wasn’t approved by the team, the Steelers could have a situation on their hands.
4. Offensive Line
So much has been written and discussed about the Steelers’ offensive line. Gone are Alejandro Villanueva, Maurkice Pouncey and Matt Feiler. In are Zach Banner at right tackle, Chuks Okorafor sliding to left tackle, Kevin Dotson filling in at left guard and B.J. Finney and/or Kendrick Green at center. This unit will have to work as one to see success in 2021, but under the guidance of Adrian Klemm you can expect to see a more physical, and punishing offensive line. I don’t think many will complain if that is the product the Steelers’ fan base sees this season.
5. Defensive Secondary Issues
Speaking of the offensive line losing a lot of talent this year, so has the secondary. Mike Hilton has left via free agency, and Steven Nelson was a cap casualty. Who will fill in those roles? Everyone points to Cam Sutton, but Sutton is only one man. Who will fill Sutton’s old role if Sutton fills Nelson’s vacated spot on the outside? Justin Layne? James Pierre? An undrafted rookie like Shakur Brown? The Steelers will start ironing out those details this week during minicamp.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the upcoming 2021 regular season.