The Pittsburgh Steelers are about nine days away from reporting to the glorious confines of St. Vincent’s College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. With expectations for this year’s team extremely high, he’s everything you need to know heading into camp.
Where: St. Vincent’s College, Latrobe, PA.
When: Players report July 27th. Final Public Practice August 18th. Traditional Friday Night Practice at Latrobe Memorial Stadium is Friday August 4th at 7pm ET.
If You’re Going: The Steelers do not charge for parking or entry to camp. Make sure you pay attention to Steelers.com for updates on weather as sometimes practices will be held indoors and away from the public due to inclement conditions. Here’s a link with everything going on at camp and directions.
What’s Different This Year: There are two major changes to Camp this year. First, there is no cut-down to 75 players. This doesn’t mean players won’t be cut but there is not a mandatory date now. Secondly, the Steelers will host their first-ever practice at Heinz Field on Sunday August 6th from 5pm-9pm ET. It’s $10 to attend so get your tickets ASAP.
Major Storylines: Contractual issues. Le’Veon Bell’s 2017 season has been decided; he’ll play under the franchise tag for $12.1 million. While that part is settled questions remain. Could he follow the lead of Eric Berry and hold out of Training Camp and then sign the tag? I think it’s not only possible but very realistic. Keep an eye now on Stephon Tuitt and Alejandro Villanueva as they are seemingly next in line on the contract carousel.
Is this the end for Ben Roethlisberger? He seriously contemplated retirement in January and is only committed through this season. Health and team success will no doubt go a long way towards a decision.
What vehicle will Antonio Brown arrive in? A new Rolls? A sports car? I’m guessing it won’t be a John Deere.
Major Positional Battles: There’s no question the major focus will be on the wide receivers where there are sure to be a couple of solid players not on this roster. Does that mean cuts or trades? Could be a little of both.
The secondary may seem fairly steady but there are serious questions about who plays the slot cornerback position and will rookie Cam Sutton be able to unseat Ross Cockrell on the boundary?
Finding depth along the offensive line will be huge during camp. Names like B.J. Finney, Jerald Hawkins, Chris Hubbard will be commonplace but don’t be surprised if lesser known names make a push.
Those are among several important battles we’ll be watching as Camp rolls on.
Other Things to Consider: This is the first time ever that Training Camp in Latrobe will be held without Dan Rooney still with us. I am confident the Steelers will make a special note of this… After years of speculation this looks like it will finally be the last year for Receivers’ Coach Richard Mann.