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2017 Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Preview

Steelers training camp SportsRoadhouse via flickr


Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Begins Thursday

The Pittsburgh Steelers will report to training camp this Thursday, July 27th. Steelers training camp will be held in Latrobe, PA at Chuck Noll Field. This field is home to the St. Vincent College Bearcats, which is a Division III football program. For 52 straight years, the Steelers have held training camp here. This is the second longest tenure behind the Green Bay Packers, who have held their camp at the same place for 60 seasons. Heading into Steelers training camp, here are some things to watch for.

Playing For Mr. Rooney

Unfortunately, this year’s Steelers training camp will be missing a familiar face checking in. Chairman and former president of the Steelers, Dan Rooney passed away in April at the age of 84. The Steelers recently unveiled a shamrock patch with Rooney’s initials that they will wear on their jerseys this season to honor Mr. Rooney. Many players have come out and said that they will be honoring him this season. Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier and wide receiver Antonio Brown have both come out to the public on multiple occasions saying that this season will be dedicated to Rooney.

New Faces Filling Huge Positions On Defense

During this offseason, the Steelers have lost a few key pieces. Most notably on defense with linebackers Lawrence Timmons and Jarvis Jones both leaving in free agency. Two names to watch that will be filling those positions are Vince Williams and T. J. Watt.

With the absence of Timmons, Ryan Shazier will lead the defense as the top inside linebacker. However, he will need someone to play alongside him on the inside. The next man up for that position will be Vince Williams. Williams has been mainly a rotational and special teams player for the Steelers so this will be a huge role change for him. If he can have anywhere near the success that Timmons did, the Steelers defense will be in great shape!

Bud Dupree and James Harrison will most likely be the starters at outside linebacker. However, the loss of Jones leaves a key rotational spot open. Look for 2017 first-round pick, T. J. Watt to fill this position. He was a stud in his time at Wisconsin and adds another versatile pass rusher to the Steelers defense. Watt and Arthur Moats will rotate with Dupree and Harrison. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Watt start at some point since Harrison is getting older if Watt proves that he can perform.

How Good Can James Conner Be?

Another new face to watch at Steelers training camp is on the offensive side of the ball. With DeAngelo Williams being unlikely to come back to the team, the Steelers will need a new backup running back. The player to watch for this role will be rookie running back, James Conner. Conner was drafted out of Pittsburgh in the third round, so he is very familiar with the program. James Conner was an inspiring story for many throughout his college career. He was able to beat cancer and continue playing football. In addition, his numbers on the field were also very impressive. During his career at Pitt, Conner ran for 3,733 yards and 52 touchdowns. With his impressive amount of explosiveness as a runner, Conner will provide the Steelers a back that can complement and give Bell much-needed breaks.

Martavis Bryant Returns

After serving a one-year suspension for a failed drug test, wide receiver Martavis Bryant has finally returned to the field. Bryant was granted reinstatement by Commissioner Goodell and has been able to participate in team activities. When we last saw Bryant on the football field in 2015, he was having a very impressive season. In the 2015 season, Bryant finished with 50 receptions for 765 yards and six touchdowns. Even so, there has been some controversy as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has come out to the public with comments criticizing Bryant. Hopefully, for the Steelers, the so-called feud between them is way over exaggerated and they will go back to having great chemistry. If this can happen, the Steelers will gain a tremendous deep threat to play alongside and take some attention off of Antonio Brown.

With all things considered, I strongly believe that there are a lot of things for Steelers fans to be excited about for the 2017-18 season. Going into Steelers training camp, I’m sure there is only one goal in mind, get the Vince Lombardi Trophy back to Pittsburgh!

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