The Pittsburgh Steelers are at the very end of their 2022 offseason, at least as it pertains to workouts. With Organized Team Activities (OTAs) in the books, sort of, the team now prepares for their last round of team workouts before training camp sometime in late July.
Welcome to mandatory minicamp week.
While this is still “football in shorts”, as Mike Tomlin would call it, there will still be plenty of storylines to keep an eye on throughout the week of workouts (Tuesday thru Thursday). So, without further ado, here are some of the storylines to watch this week:
- What happened to Organized Team Activities (OTAs) Week 3?
I’m not sure if many fans realized this or not, but when the Steelers released their workout schedule for the offseason, this week was supposed to be the third, and final week of OTAs. Every NFL team has 10 voluntary OTAs, and this year, for the first time, the Steelers elected to just use six. What happened to OTAs Week 3? No one seems to know, but I’m sure Mike Tomlin will be asked about that when he speaks to the media this week.
- Any no-shows?
With Diontae Johnson returning to OTAs in Week 2, and Stephon Tuitt officially retired, it is highly unlikely there are no-shows for mandatory minicamp. After all, if a player misses these workouts they lose money. They are called mandatory for a reason. Let’s hope this is a non-story this week.
- No injuries
There is nothing worse than those OTAs or offseason injuries. A pulled hamstring is one thing, a ruptured Achilles is another. If the Steelers can get out of these offseason workouts with a clean bill of health, consider that a huge offseason win.
- Leaders? Anyone?
The Steelers have long been known for their leadership within their locker room. I think most honest fans would suggest this hasn’t always been the case the past few seasons. Maybe it was restrictions placed on the team since 2020, or maybe just some allowing others to step up and lead. Either way, the team could use some new, and more, leaders to step up and help this young 2022 team get over the proverbial hump. This leadership typically starts during the offseason and bleeds into the regular season. Time for some new faces to step up.
- No Tuitt, now what?
The retirement of Stephon Tuitt was big news, and now the organization finally has their answer as to whether or not Tuitt will be a part of the team. So, now what? Keep an eye on the defensive linemen, as well as what they say as they prepare for the start of training camp next month. The team could choose to bring in a free agent, but the hope is they have the answers they need in-house.
- Omar Khan now in the spotlight
Speaking of signing an outside free agent, newly minted General Manager (GM) Omar Khan now finds himself in the spotlight for the first time. What will Khan do? What will his approach be? Will he be patient, or pull the trigger on a deal? Khan’s first challenge is in front of him, and it will be noteworthy how he handles it.
- Contract updates?
There are several players who want new contracts. Diontae Johnson has reportedly been wanting a new deal, and Minkah Fitzpatrick has been a priority since the end of the 2021 season. While it is unlikely there is any news on those contracts during minicamp, this is the last time before training camp the team will have all their players in one building before they leave for a break. You also have to wonder if the team will be able to lock up the last player of the 2022 NFL Draft class, Kenny Pickett, before the end of the week. After signing Calvin Austin III Monday, Pickett remains the only unsigned player in the class of seven.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the team as they prepare for mandatory minicamp throughout the week.