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Steelers Minicamp Recap, Day 1: QB rotation and two-minute drill cap off first workout

The Pittsburgh Steeles wrapped up their first day of mandatory minicamp, and it is time to check in on what went down.

NFL: MAY 25 Pittsburgh Steelers OTA Offseason Workouts Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the field for the final time during the team’s offseason workouts. This time for mandatory minicamp. The first workout was Tuesday, 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 mandatory minicamp gets the most news.

In case you don’t know how the offseason is sculpted, 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. Minicamp is essentially an extension of Phase 3 of OTAs, except they are mandatory.

There was plenty of news on Day 1, 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...

QB Order

How will the Steelers, mainly Matt Canada and Mike Tomlin, somehow manipulate a three-man quarterback competition this offseason? Well, that has yet to be seen this early in the process, but Matt Canada spoke with media and said Tomlin has made it very transparent the order should be:


This from Will Graves of the Associated Press:

There will be plenty of fans who will be overreact to this news, as well as hate the pecking order as it stands right now. Canada said there is a real “laid-out” plan for how the Steelers are going to evolve and find who their quarterback is going to be when they travel to Cincinnati in Week 1 of the regular season.

This per Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

2 Minute Drill

Speaking of quarterbacks, the fact the team ran some two-minute drill at the end of the first workout got the attention of everyone in attendance. However, the Steelers media contingent is not allowed to report anything they see during team sessions unless a player talks about it, or verifies it.

According to Mark Kaboly, Kenny Pickett ran an effective two-minute drill, but there was some confusion about whether the drill ended in a touchdown or not. According to Mark Kaboly of the Athletic, the drive resulted in a touchdown.

However, Brian Batko suggests Pickett’s pass to Heyward was not a score.

Below you’ll see Pickett’s brief media session today after the workout, and he said he wishes the drive would have ended with a touchdown. This makes you believe the amazing one-handed catch by the younger Heyward brother was great, but not for a touchdown.

It was also good to see/read Tre Norwood get his hands on the football early in the process, even if it was off a tipped pass.

In attendance, wanting a new deal

Diontae Johnson was at minicamp, and he was more than happy to talk with reporters following the first workout of the week. You can read more about this in the article which ran Tuesday afternoon on BTSC in the link below.

In attendance, wanting a new deal, not talking

While Johnson was in attendance at minicamp, wanted a new contract and spoke with media, Minkah Fitzpatrick was also there, also wants a new deal, but isn’t going to be talking to media anytime soon.

This per Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

OLine blocking

Fans love to try and predict/suggest what the team will do with a myriad of topics every year. One of those topics would be what offensive line coach Pat Meyer will be doing with the new-look offensive line. Will they be running inside zone? Outside zone? According to Nick Farabugh, Meyer said the team is focusing on more wide zone running this season.

“Big George”

Najee Harris’ physique has garnered a lot of attention throughout the past few weeks during OTAs, but Matt Canada praised a rookie for his size Tuesday. That rookie is none other than 2nd Round pick George Pickens. Canada admitted they call him “Big George” and how he is “a frickin’ big dude.”

Najee workload

Worried about Najee Harris’ workload? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. Harris admitted the team has spoken to him about lightening his workload, but he’s okay with whatever the team decides. The talks are ongoing, and, as expected, Harris wants to be on the field a lot.

Najee responds to weight

More Najee Harris weight talk, this time from Harris himself. While talking to the media Harris was asked about his weight, and the second year running back didn’t hold back when talking about how the media’s ability to run with a story is frustrating to him.

Full Media Sessions

Mike Tomlin Press Conference