The Pittsburgh Steelers will enter their 2013 training camp as a team in transition.
For the second consecutive year, the Steelers lost several veterans that were key to their success in recent years. Not only do they have to replace their talent on the field, but also the leadership in the locker room.
There will be no shortage of options, as there are numerous young players eager at the chance to compete for a significant role on the team.
Besides the new personnel, the Steelers will also be breaking in three new coaches as well as making adjustments to their offensive scheme.
In the following slides, we’ll preview Pittsburgh’s roster as well as examine the major storylines as the Steelers enter their 2013 training camp. Topics will include the camp schedule, a breakdown of the roster, the biggest questions surrounding the team and positional battles.
The Pittsburgh Steelers will enter their 48th training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. They report to camp on Friday, July 26 and begin to practice on Saturday, July 27. The first practice in pads is scheduled for Monday, July 29.
Public practices are held daily from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. There are exceptions when the campus is closed to the public for off days or game travel. These dates include July 30 and August 6, 9, 10, 11 and 13.
The Steelers will continue their annual tradition of holding a night practice at Latrobe Memorial Stadium on August 2 at 7:00 p.m. They have an additional evening practice at Saint Vincent College on Wednesday, August 14 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The final public practice will be on Saturday, August 17 and the team will break camp the following day.
There will be 90 NFL hopefuls that enter training camp, but only 53 will survive to make the final roster.
For a team like the Steelers, nearly half of these roster spots are already locked up, leaving little room for the fringe NFL players. These players will have approximately one month to make an impression and earn a coveted roster spot.
For a complete analysis of the entire roster, click here.
Every year, there are a number of burning questions as the Steelers enter training camp. This year is no exception. However, after failing to make the playoffs, there are some extra questions concerning the Steelers this year.
A major part of the success of the Steelers this season will be the performance of their veterans. Big-money players such as LaMarr Woodley and Troy Polamalu have not matched their paycheck with their performance on the field. This must change.
There was also a rare shakeup on the coaching staff, as the Steelers will break in three new coaches this year.
Jack Bicknell Jr. will look to turn around the offensive line while Danny Smith has a lot of work to do with the special teams. The receivers will be under the new direction of Richard Mann.
But most of the focus will be on the coordinators, as Todd Haley adjusts his offense to best fit the talent and Dick LeBeau finds ways to get to the quarterback and force turnovers.
These are just some of the questions heading into training camp. For a complete analysis, click here.
Preparing the team for the rigors of the season is the top priority of training camp. Right below it are the positional battles that help the coaching staff form the depth chart.
Most of the starting spots are already locked up, but there are a handful of battles that will make camp interesting.
Key battles will come at outside linebacker and running back, where the Steelers’ top two draft picks hope to earn starting jobs. Other battles involve punters and depth at virtually every position on the roster.
Rookies have a tough time making an impact for the Steelers, but their top four selections can take steps toward earning playing time with a strong performance in camp.
For a complete analysis of the Steelers’ biggest training camp battles, click here.
Every year, there is talk that the Steelers draft the best available athlete rather than filling a need. That was not the case this season.
Their top four selections—Jarvis Jones, Le’Veon Bell, Markus Wheaton, Shamarko Thomas—filled their top four needs at outside linebacker, running back, wide receiver and safety.
There was a lot of debate over Jones after he had a poor workout, but that did not deter the Steelers from drafting him. Though he may not start this season, Jones has a bright future.
Bell has a very good chance of winning the starting job over Jonathan Dwyer and will be a major part in revitalizing the ground game.
Pittsburgh used its late-round picks to add valuable depth and added potential sleepers after the draft.
The rookies will be thrown to the fire in training camp and will be one of the focal points of the coaching staff and fans alike.
For a complete analysis of the Steelers’ rookies and UDFAs, click here.
The Steelers have an experienced starting lineup whose members are not at risk of getting released. Even the new starters—Jason Worilds, Steve McLendon and Cortez Allen—lack significant competition for their jobs. Only Worilds will have to compete and he has a huge edge over the rookie Jones.
When it comes down to it, the Steelers will have eight to 10 roster spots that are waiting to be claimed. For many of these spots, not only will a player have to master his position, but also show that he can play special teams.
Missing the final cut may not be the end, though, as a player can end up on the practice squad or be re-signed later in the season.
For a complete analysis of the Steelers’ bubble watch, click here.
In just over a month, rosters will have been reduced from 90 to just 53.
The players that make the team may not necessarily be the most talented options, but rather the 53 players that will help field the best team for the opening game.