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Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – S Troy Polamalu

By Matthew Marczi

End-of-season player exit meetings are not something that we are often privy to as outsiders of the football world. Generally, we only get a glimpse into that world when a player is asked by a reporter how the meeting went, if the player is willing to discuss it.

Still, it’s not generally a hard concept to grasp, and we have a pretty good feel by now of how Mike Tomlin and his staff likes to operate, and we see all the game film, so it’s not an overly difficult project to simulate. If we were to administer the end-of-season player exit meetings, it might go something like this.

Player: Troy Polamalu

Position: Safety

Experience: 11 Years

Troy Polamalu has made the Pro Bowl every year since entering the starting lineup during which he didn’t wade through significant injuries—in 2009 and 2012—and that includes 2013, this past season.

While he had only two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), he made up for it with five forced fumbles, the most in his career by two. That included one game during which he forced three fumbles alone. He had eight forced fumbles combined during his first decade in the league.

No doubt, Polamalu’s play-making ability has always been the cornerstone of what makes him such a special player, and an eventual Hall of Famer, but it was especially important to his overall success this year, during which he went through stretches of coverage lapses resulting in uncharacteristic big plays.

This was exacerbated by the changes in defensive scheme after the Steelers began frequently utilizing the quarters package. As a result, Polamalu found himself playing inside linebacker frequently, at the second level of the defense rather than the third.

It may seem like a small distinction, but it can certainly have an impact on a player, especially one accustomed to being back in the defense. It changes visual keys. It’s a completely different perspective of the offense: a narrower perspective.

I don’t have specific statistics as to how he performed in coverage from a deep set and at the second level, but I expect at the very least that the shifting from one level to another had some type of impact on his performance. In general, he seems to be at a point in his career during which he has an easier time coming forward rather than working backward.

Still, Polamalu has always had a strong presence near the line of scrimmage, particularly when it comes to playing the run. Unfortunately, he is better coming off the edge than going up the middle in my estimation, so I hope that the quarters package that involves Polamalu at linebacker is used less frequently going forward.

Previous Articles In This Series
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – QB Ben Roethlisberger
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – WR Antonio Brown
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – WR Emmanuel Sanders
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – TE Heath Miller
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – T Marcus Gilbert
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – G David DeCastro
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – G Ramon Foster
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – T Kelvin Beachum
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – RB Le’Veon Bell
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – C Fernando Velasco
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – FB Will Johnson
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – DE Brett Keisel
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – NT Steve McLendon
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – DE Cameron Heyward
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – OLB LaMarr Woodley
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – OLB Jason Worilds
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – ILB Lawrence Timmons
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – ILB Vince Williams
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – CB Ike Taylor
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – CB William Gay

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