The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the field for Organized Team Activities (OTAs) Wednesday, and for those who haven’t been paying attention, this isn’t breaking news. The Steelers have been participating in OTAs for the last few months, but Phase 3, which just started, gets the most news.
In case you don’t know, Phase 1 of OTAs is essentially just workouts with the strength and conditioning staff, Phase 2 is more position specific training/drills and Phase 3 is the most football-like of all OTAs. It is Phase 3 which is where teams can do 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. No contact, no pads, but plenty of news to go around. Before going any further, it is important to note these workouts are 100% voluntary.
There was plenty of news on Day 2, and in this article I will dive into those, as well as share some video fans might enjoy checking out!
Let’s get to the news...
Offensive line just trying to gel
The Pittsburgh Steelers have had a lot of turnover along the offensive line since the end of the 2021 season. Gone is guard Trai Turner, offensive line coach Adrian Klemm, and assistant offensive line coach Chris Morgan. When it comes to turnover, it isn’t just Pat Meyer who is coming in to take over the offensive line, but plenty of players are joining him to hopefully make a difference in the unit’s production.
The biggest additions came via free agency when the Steelers welcomed both James Daniels and Mason Cole to help solidify the interior of the team’s offensive line. Cole has been taking repetitions at center during OTAs, and Daniels has been manning the right guard position once held by Turner in 2021.
When both players met with media Wednesday they spoke about getting acclimated to a new system and coach, but ultimately how the entire unit needs to be better and more cohesive. Daniels went into tremendous detail on not just being a leader in a very young offensive line room, but also how the blocking schemes can impact the overall production of the offense.
As for Cole, he spoke glowingly of his new NFL home. How everyone, including players like Kendrick Green who is now being tasked with playing both center and/or guard, is working hard to help one another.
Mason Cole on his new teammates, Coach Pat Meyer and more ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/ysDnarD13B— Steelers Live (@SteelersLive) May 25, 2022
The Steelers’ offense will go as the line goes in 2022. You want to see Najee Harris run wild on defenses? He needs the big men up front to open holes. Want to see Kenny Pickett and/or any other quarterback throw deep passes to the likes of Chase Claypool and George Pickens? It won’t matter unless the offensive line can keep the pass rush away from him.
The Steelers’ running game was bad in 2022, and Ben Roethlisberger clearly didn’t trust the line to keep him upright when it mattered the most. This is Step 1 for this group, and the hope is the additions of Meyer, Daniels and Cole will help transform the line into a formidable group in 2022 and beyond.
Pat Freiermuth enters Year 2 with a new body build
The second year tight end decided this offseason to heed his coaches’ advice and get in better shape before the start of the 2022 season. What he did was not focus on gaining, or losing, weight, but on putting on muscle. Freiermuth talked about that, what he thinks of Kenny Pickett and more as he met with media Wednesday.
T.J. Watt talks
The current Defensive Player of the Year sat down with Missi Matthews to talk about OTAs, as well as his preparation entering this season.
Tyson Alualu on his return
Coming back from an injury is tough enough, but doing it at the end of your career can be even more challenging. Alualu spoke with media about what made him want to come back, as well as what motivates him to not just return to the team, but come back stronger than ever.
"My mindset was always get healthy and enjoy that grind to be back." Tyson Alualu pic.twitter.com/Ch5AxIpyY4— Steelers Live (@SteelersLive) May 25, 2022