OTA’s have arrived this week as the off-season continues to fly by. Although not required, it is an excellent opportunity for the players to get to know one another and prepare for the upcoming season. This is especially true for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have had a lot of roster turnover this off-season, and OTA’s are a terrific opportunity to bring the team together and help them create chemistry.
With OTA’s officially beginning today, I wanted to highlight the three most important storylines to keep an eye on as the Steelers begin their workouts.
1. Will Diontae Johnson and/or Stephon Tuitt show up for the Steelers?
This, I believe, is the Steelers’ biggest question mark moving into OTA’s. Will Stephon Tuitt and Diontae Johnson attend OTA’s? We still haven’t heard anything from Tuitt, and we’re not sure if he’ll even play this year. If he doesn’t end up showing up, it won’t bode well for the Steelers when the season begins. We’ve all seen how crucial he was to this defense, and if he won’t be back this season, the Steelers should look into free agency to find a successor, perhaps someone like Akiem Hicks.
As for Johnson, there’s a chance he may hold out for a new contract. However, it was reported earlier in the off-season, that he does not intend to hold out and he will report to the team. So only time will tell if that is actually true or not.
2. QB competition
Pittsburgh is entering a new era. After 18 years with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, the Steelers are approaching a new regular season with no idea who will be the starting QB come Week 1. Although I understand that OTA’s will have little bearing on the QB competition, I believe that it will provide us with a good indication of who has the upper hand moving into training camp.
Now, this is still football in shorts, so we still need to remember to not overreact, but it will be interesting to see who takes command of the huddle and who is the most accurate. This will be a fun one to watch throughout the off-season.
3. CB Conundrum
This is one of the more intriguing position groups to watch after QB. The Steelers secondary room just got younger with the departure of Joe Haden and will look a little different next season. Just compare last season’s starters (Joe Haden and James Pierre) to the likely starters this season (Levi Wallace and Ahkello Witherspoon). It’ll be intriguing to watch how Witherspoon handles having a full off-season and knowing he’ll start in Week 1. If the Steelers can get “second half of the season” Witherspoon, then they may have their CB1 on the roster already. Levi Wallace is another name to keep an eye on. It is going to be interesting to see how he performs with a larger workload compared to what he had at Buffalo.
What are you looking forward to the most during OTA’s? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.