When the Pittsburgh Steelers take the field later today for their conditioning test, there isn’t expected to be any hiccups. If the offseason reports are to be believed, OTAs and minicamp saw a hungry, motivated, and fit Steelers team ready to make up for the shortcomings of the last few years.
That fitness also includes physical health, as the Steelers are not expected to have to put anybody on the Physically Unable to Perform list to open training camp, which is certainly a different atmosphere from last season.
Of course, injuries are a part of the game and can never be wholly accounted for. The Steelers lost two starters for the year in center Maurkice Pouncey and inside linebacker Larry Foote during the season opener a year ago.
But from where we stand right now, the Steelers are anticipated to be in excellent shape from both a health and conditioning standpoint entering training camp.
A year ago, the team had not one, but two tight ends recovering from ACL tears, including former Pro Bowl tight end Heath Miller, who subsequently missed the first two games of the 2013 season.
It was clear through much of the year that he was limited by the knee, which he tore up in December of 2012. He couldn’t gain as much separation from receivers, and his blocking left much to be desired at times.
There was also David Johnson, who had the potential to be an important contributor last season, given all the injuries that the Steelers were dealing with at the tight end position. Matt Spaeth, you’ll remember, injured his foot in training camp, an injury that kept him out of the majority of the season.
Spaeth’s situation, though, is yet another reminder that things can change in a hurry. Le’Veon Bell was also injured during training camp. His initial injury limited him in the preseason, and when the Steelers did let him play, his favoring his injury caused him to suffer another injury, which ultimately resulted in him missing the first three weeks.
As has often been the case in recent years, the Steelers certainly dealt with their fair share of injuries, both before and during the season. They’re hoping that they’ve finally leapt over that hurdle and are ready to experience a period of relative health.
The next test in proving that theory is today, during which we find out whether or not everybody on the roster has been taking care of themselves through the past month as they were left to their own devices.
There haven’t been any reports of injury that would anticipate opening the ledger on some injury list or another, and it doesn’t seem particularly likely based on the course of this offseason that anybody has adopted such a slothful lifestyle over the past month that would cause them to fail the conditioning test, but we’ll know one way or another soon enough.