There were days in training camp when the starting offensive line wasn't what the Steelers anticipate it will be in the regular season, more such days than not, or so it seemed.
There were injuries to be nursed, veteran off days to be observed and reps to be awarded to youngsters in need of development.
But with the returns to practice this week of center Maurkice Pouncey and left guard Ramon Foster, the quest for consistency and continuity up front has resumed in ample time, the Steelers maintain, to achieve both in advance of the opener on Sept. 10 at Cleveland.
"Right now we can fine tune a lot," Foster said. "You get to the South Side, there are a lot more reps. We might have 15 plays in a period, but in Latrobe the starters might just get seven. Here, we're getting 12. There's a little bit more time, communication is at a higher volume.
"So yeah, it works out that way."
The Steelers prepare for the preseason Week 3 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts.
The way the Steelers have worked it out to this juncture, down time in relation to practice availability hasn't necessarily been unproductive in terms of individual and collective preparation.
"'Coach Munch' (offensive line coach Mike Munchak) does a really good job of keeping us all grounded and working on our technique," Pouncey said. "We watch a lot of film together. We go out there and walk through a lot of different things when you guys (in the media) aren't out there. Most of the guys that are starting are in there walking through the plays, not doing all the live reps (when not practicing).
"We still have 14, 15 days until the first game, so we have some time."
The intent is to ensure their remaining time getting ready for the opener is well spent, especially the time the Steelers will spend hosting the Indianapolis Colts in a preseason game on Saturday night at Heinz Field.
"This one's this huge, we'll play all the way until the third quarter," Pouncey said. "Next week will be a lot of drill work, doing a lot of plays during practice and then we'll see how the rest of the week goes," leading up to the preseason finale on Aug. 31 at Carolina.
"Yeah, I think so," right guard David DeCastro agreed. "Get the starters to go and get in a rhythm (against the Colts). It's kind of been weird having guys, bits and pieces, out here and there.
"Maybe get some real snaps before it's all over."
And then protect as many of the linemen as possible in Charlotte?
"That's the plan I think, yeah," DeCastro said.