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As Steelers training camp/preseason approaches, a simple reminder

With the Pittsburgh Steelers slated to start training camp Wednesday, July 26th, and the excitement for this simple feat typically reaches a fever pitch amongst the fan base.

Fans of the black-and-gold scour Twitter for fan footage from training camp, in hopes of seeing a dazzling reception for a touchdown, a big hit, or the ever-famous ‘7 Shots’ drill. As training camp drags on, the preseason brings with it another round of excitement and speculation.

As I sat down to write this story, I couldn’t help but think back to last season when the Steelers prepared for their first preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks. There was so much fans were excited to see. They wanted to see Kenny Pickett, not to mention free agent additions like Levi Wallace, Mason Cole, Myles Jack and James Daniels.

It was the first two preseason games when fans saw the offensive line looking more like a turnstile than anyone with the ability to actually protect the quarterback. In case you forgot, two players in particular, Kendrick Green and James Daniels, failed the eye-test out of the gate.

It was the preseason opener vs. Seattle when footage of Green and Daniels whiffing on blocks started to circulate among the fan base. Fans started asking questions…

“How could the Steelers ever sign this guy to a big-time contract?”

“What was he doing on this play?”

“Are these guys TRYING to get the quarterback killed?”

Yeah, it wasn’t pretty…

The cautionary tale here is not how bad it looked in the preseason, but what it turned into. While Green didn’t play an offensive snap in 2022, Daniels turned his season around gradually and become one of the most reliable blockers for the Steelers last season.

So, as you are awaiting the influx of training camp information in the coming weeks, hold off on the hasty declarations and downgrading of players. Why? Because they could be ironing out the wrinkles of learning a new scheme/coaching style. This could just be the beginning, and, as we saw from Daniels in 2022, the end could look drastically different.

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