Who’s Missing at OTAs?

OTAs won’t show the fans or the team what kind of team the Steelers have this season. But what the OTAs will do is build the chemistry necessary for all of the guys to get back in the habit of having and letting the new crew understand what being a Steeler really means. Although we all know that the OTAs are completely optional for the players, personally, I think all major veterans should be there at least getting the new guys ready.

Le’Veon Bell is always at the center of attention when talking about who may miss OTAs, training camp, or even games. With Bell’s contract still under negotiation and not suiting what he thinks he should be earning, it was inevitable that he wouldn’t make an appearance at OTAs. Bell always makes comments about how the Steelers are in his best interest and how the team always comes first, but when you don’t want to work on your talent or help build the chemistry before the season, well, it’s hard to believe.

But Le’Veon was expected not to show up, some other veterans have been absent as well, and haven’t caught a lot of attention for it. Antonio Brown has only been to just two of the five sessions that the Steelers have had so far. Roethlisberger is also one who hasn’t attended all sessions, just one actually. Again, OTAs are completely voluntary and we all know that these three guys know what they’re doing. But this is a team that has their eyes on the Lombardi Trophy.

The NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement limits the amount of time that players can work together. So the best thing for all veterans to do is to simply show up. The newly drafted players need to practice with the veterans, no questions asked. Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown need to work with James Washington and Mason Rudolph as much as they can. This is a team effort and if a Super Bowl ring is what they are seeking, everyone shows up.

OTAs only show a basic level of understanding of the capabilities of the players. It lets the coaches know who to look out for in regards to effort and performance and who is in the best condition for the position being fought for. Veteran David Decastro spoke out on OTAs,

“It’s tough, you wish they were here. It’s a team event, but it’s not real football yet. It’s one of those things, you just look at it as an older guy, just get in shape.”

Decastro is right, this isn’t the real deal yet, but this teams needs to be locked in, and locked in together.

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