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3 things to look for in Phase III of Steelers OTAs

The Pittsburgh Steelers are set to take the field today at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex in order to begin Phase Three of OTA’s for the 2024 offseason. What makes Phase Three so different? Here is a rundown of what the Steelers can do at this point of the offseason according to

Phase Three consists of the next four weeks of the program. Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity, or “OTAs”. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

As the team takes the field and various reports come out about what’s going on during practice, what are some of the most important things to look for? Although it is just “football in shorts,” can be gleaned about various things?

Here are the top three things to keep an eye out for when it comes to reports Phase Three of Steelers 2024 OTAs:

Participation of certain players

At first glance, it might seem that there are players who are choosing not to participate, which is what is expected from Steelers captain Cam Heyward. But really what I’m speaking about here is looking at players who are coming off injuries from last season as well as those who had surgery in the offseason. Cam Heyward would be one of these players if it wasn’t already reported that he is not going to be at OTAs during his current contract negotiations. It could be taken that way, but with Heyward having surgery following the 2023 season I believe it was doubtful he was going to participate anyway. When it comes to other players who need to be on the field in order to establish their position on the team, players such as linebacker Cole Holcomb and cornerback Cory Trice, the amount of their participation will give some insight as to how things are progressing from the injuries that cost them time during the 2023 season. While their participation, or lack thereof, isn’t the ultimate determination if they will be ready to go for the 2024 season, it will be an insight into their progress at this time of the year.

Where certain players line up

I’m not going to paint with a broad brush when it comes to lineups which occur during OTAs, but seeing where certain players are getting work does given an indication of the possibilities. Seeing Troy Fautanu playing right tackle and Mason McCormick at right guard during rookie minicamp, positions that are on the opposite side of the line of where they both played in college, does not lock these players into a certain position but shows they will be looked at in these spots. The question for OTAs will be if they get any work on the left side as well. Offensive tackle in general will be interesting to see where players are getting reps. Additionally, pretty much every player who is new to the Steelers for 2024 will have where they line up noted for their potential use by the Steelers. And to repeat it again simply because it’s so important, this is not giving us a final determination but simply gives some insight into the possibilities.

Keeping the medical staff on the sidelines

While injury concerns are true at all times, there was a gentle reminder yesterday as the Denver Broncos had one of their defenders go down with an ACL injury. The biggest thing that can come out of the Steelers offseason program is for healthy players to remain healthy and players coming back from injury to still be moving in the right direction. Although the Steelers can’t win games during OT, if the injury bug bites hard they could put themselves in a much worse place to do so when the regular season rules around.

So there are the three biggest things to look for during the final phase of OTA’s ahead of mandatory mini camp. While these things will not spell out everything for the Steelers in 2024, they are the most telling things fans can get during this time of year.



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