6 intriguing questions heading into Steelers 2023 training camp
On the most recent episode of the Scho Bro Show podcast, Big Bro Scho and I discussed our biggest questions heading into Steelers training camp. As we set to define the parameters, we found the best way to label the questions would be as “intriguing“ simply because there was not the same sense of urgency as we experienced in 2022. Of course, many of these questions overlap and could be combined into one. For this reason, we developed our six most intriguing questions for the 2023 Steelers as they had to St. Vincent College.
The biggest question that often can be asked has to do with the issue of injuries affecting availability. Since these can’t be predicted, it was left out of the discussion. Although on the podcast we counted down to which questions we thought were the most intriguing, these questions will not be in any specific order as it is a combination of both lists.
Who is Calvin Austin III?
Although the rest of the 2022 rookie class will be discussed in a later question, it’s actually CA3 who gets his own talking point as he is in a different category. Not even seeing him on the field for a preseason game, where does Austin fit with the Steelers? His speed has been talked about ever since he was drafted, but his size has also been a discussion point on the negative side. Is he a punt returner? How will the Steelers utilize him in the offense? Not seeing the field last season raises a lot of intriguing questions.
How quickly will the offensive line come together?
While of this was a huge question last year with the Steelers implementing a new blocking philosophy under offensive line coach Pat Meyer, the Steelers returned all their starters and added new pieces. Last year it took a while for everything to come together. Will the learning curve of new players be much smaller this season? Will first-round draft pick Broderick Jones be in the mix early in the season? How would this affect the cohesion? They are a lot of questions, but not the desperation of a year ago.
Will Matt Canada open up the playbook?
This question has been discussed throughout the entire offseason, including here at Steel Curtain Network. So why are we still talking about it? It’s simply because we won’t get an answer until we are into the regular season. Whether you fall on the spectrum that Canada is not capable to do more than what he’s shown or if you think the Steelers have been employing smoke and mirrors about it this offseason, it’s still a question regardless of where your expectations lie.
How will the cornerback situation play out?
While some fans are concerned with the Steelers cornerbacks, there are plenty who think the Steelers are moving in the right direction with their current depth chart. But how is that depth chart going to shake out? What are the Steelers plans for the slot cornerback position? Will Patrick Peterson slide inside much like Cam Sutton did last season? How are the Steelers going to use their rookies, if at all, to start the season? Although some fans are not concerned about cornerback, it’s still doesn’t mean it’s not intriguing to see exactly how they’re going to implement their personnel.
A sophomore slump or is it time to rise and shine?
This was Big Bro Scho’s top intriguing question as he lumped the players going into their second NFL season who played last year all in one to ask the question. I specifically was looking at this issue with Kenny Pickett as one of my top questions but it seems to fit here as a sub category. Whether it be Kenny Pickett, George Pickens, DeMarvin Leal, Connor Heyward, Mark Robinson, or Jaylen Warren who all joined the Steelers as rookies last year, what are they going to do in year two to build on their past performances? In looking at that list of names, if these players all take a significant leap it would be huge for the 2023 Steelers.
How will the Steelers secure the middle of their defense?
While Big Bro Scho had the inside linebackers on his list of questions, I want to group several positions together to make it my top intriguing question heading into training camp. I looked at the middle of the Steelers defense in the shape of a ‘V’ with increasing the number of players on each level. Starting at the ball, it begins with the nose tackle position where the Steelers have a lot of players such as Montravius Adams, Keeanu Benton, Breiden Fehoko, and Armon Watts who could all be in the mix. But a position that’s only on the field 30% of the time does not need four different players. Moving to the next level and the two inside linebackers, the questions here aren’t as much about who is likely to be playing the position but how will they perform being new to the Steelers. Moving to the third level, Minkah Fitzpatrick has already established his greatness but exactly how the Steelers will implement the other safety or two around him is not something known at this time other than speculation. Looking at this area of the field has a lot of questions to be asked but it doesn’t mean there aren’t great answers to be had.
So there are our six most intriguing questions heading into Steelers training camp. Did we cover most things? What questions were missed? Which one do you believe is the most intriguing? Make sure you leave your thoughts in the comments below.
For more on the discussion of our individual lists on the Scho Bro Show podcast, it can be heard in the player below: