The Pittsburgh Steelers have officially begun their 2022 season. The team started training camp at the end of July and some pretty exciting things have been seen there. The team only has a few weeks to make roster decisions, including at some key positions. Luckily, the team has three preseason games, including one this coming Saturday, to see their players in action before the regular season. But, camp is one of the better ways to see where certain guys are at skill-wise. As of now, there are plenty of positional races and battles that are getting better as each day of camp passes. Let’s look at some of these battles and some of the observations and notes taken by those attending the Steelers training camp.
Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Notes After Two Weeks
What Have the Steelers Been Doing At Training Camp?
The team has been running various drills and scrimmages in their two weeks at St. Vincent College in Latrobe. Earlier on, the offense was running basic throwing and catching drills as the new quarterbacks start to develop a connection with some of the receivers. The defense did a lot of physical drills, including working on tackling and block-shedding. But, after a few days of getting back into shape, the team started live scrimmages. In the first week, the team did not have pads on so it was essentially touch football. They ran seven-on-seven games, with each quarter lasting about ten minutes each. Here, each guy got plenty of chances (at least ten plays per player) to showcase something.
As the camp went on, the team moved into seven shots and full-on eleven-on-eleven football. Here, you can start to see different players starting to adapt to game-like situations and see what they’d do. A lot of this is giving the quarterbacks and the younger guys time to learn the playbook and create valuable connections. One of the biggest storylines of all of training camp is how the battle of the quarterbacks has played out.
Quarterback Battle Has Begun, with Mason Rudolph Currently Ahead
The Steelers have three guys competing for the starting role: Mitchell Trubisky, Mason Rudolph, and Kenny Pickett. Each guy has their strengths and weaknesses and each guy has got a chance to work with all three levels of competition. So, the coaches likely have a good idea of who to roll with after seeing these three perform.
In the first week, Mitchell Trubisky showed off by making the most big-yardage plays and demonstrated the “highest highs.” This means that he was making the best plays and using his head, like scrambling at the right point and finding the open guy. But it was Rudolph who was labeled as the most consistent. He seems to have maybe found a groove in the various drills and scrimmages and has impressed a lot of the coaches. He seems to be making the best throws and the best decisions, which is critical for the starting quarterback. Kenny Pickett has made some good plays but has been rather inconsistent. He just seemed really uncomfortable in the pocket and didn’t always make the right decision. Below are some quarterback stats taken from the first two weeks of training camp.
Steelers' training camp stats. Here's the QB numbers.
Trubisky: 45/80 (56.3%) 356 yards (4.5 YPA) 7 TDs 4 INTs – 7.9 YPC
Rudolph: 52/77 (67.5%) 449 yards (5.8 YPA) 11 TDs 0 INTs – 8.6 YPC
Pickett: 38/61 (62.3%) 225 yards (3.7 YPA) 4 TDs 2 INTs – 5.9 YPC https://t.co/1ZuNuZiifA
— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) August 7, 2022
As you can see, Rudolph has the most yards and the highest completion percentage with the second-most attempts. Also, he has an unblemished TD-INT ratio, as he sits 11-0 in that category. As of now, Rudolph stands as the frontrunner but the preseason games will ultimately decide who is the starter Week 1.
The good news is that all three guys have gotten to work with the different tiered teams. For example, Rudolph has worked with all three teams and Pickett has gotten to go with the third-team and second-team. These team orderings do not mean anything yet; Trubisky is listed as the starter on the online depth chart but is far from claiming the number one role. A lot can change in the coming weeks and this quarterback battle is sure to be intense but beneficial.
Wide Receivers Looking Great, with Two Rookie Standouts
The Steelers wide receiver room is looking great. It seems that they will have great potential and could be one of the best units/trios in the league. For starters, their two returning veterans, Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson, have both returned from their respective issues. Claypool had been battling a shoulder injury but is now back in full pads and practicing again. Johnson was sitting out but was still present at team practices due to an ongoing contract dispute. Luckily, the Steelers locked their Pro-Bowl receiver up for two additional years. Now, Johnson is back and practicing, and looks to repeat his great season that he had last year.
However, the two biggest standouts of training camp have been rookies George Pickens and Calvin Austin. Everywhere on social media, people have been seeing some of the fantastic catches and plays that Pickens has made. He looks to be a truly special talent and an absolute steal for Pittsburgh. Should he get chances early on, he could shine as one of the better rookie receivers in a loaded class. Also, Calvin Austin is displaying his big-play ability using his speed. He has now scored five 40+ yard touchdowns in the team’s mini scrimmages, most of which have been catch-and-runs. He doesn’t seem to be getting a whole lot of praise or mention, but he certainly deserves it.
Some Other Skill Players Impressing
Some other skill players have impressed the Steelers coaching staff during training camp besides the wide receivers. Two of the Steelers rookie running backs, Jaylen Warren and Conner Heyward, have been working well in various packages and have been making some noticeable plays. Obviously, the Steelers have Najee Harris in the backfield, but it could be good to use someone like Warren as the second running back due to the inconsistency of Benny Snell and Anthony MacFarland.
Heyward could be valuable at multiple positions and in multiple scenarios. He can play running back, fullback, and tight end; this gives him versatility in the pass-catching game and he could also block quite a bit in power run or play action plays.