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: Ramon Foster
Position: Left Guard
Experience: 6 Years
After six years in the league and 71 starts to his name, it’s safe to say that Ramon Foster has fared better for himself than the average undrafted free agent. While it’s only been in the last two seasons that he has been looked at in the offseason as a starter, he has always been a trusted member of the offensive line for the Steelers, and has always found his way onto the field eventually.
More than that, Foster has made a home for himself in Pittsburgh, in the community and in the locker room, where he is among the offensive leaders in the locker room, and often a go-to spokesperson of sorts.
When Maurkice Pouncey went down early in the season a year ago, it was Foster who helped keep the offensive line together as well as it did, and he also turned in the best performance of his career. He was the Steelers’ most consistent lineman that year, and perhaps the best as well.
2014 wasn’t quite as kind to the then 28-year old either on or off the field. He lost his mother during training camp, which, naturally, takes precedence over anything else that happened, certainly.
On the field, the early portion of his season was marred by an injury that kept him out of two games, and it was perhaps an injury that lingered and affected his performance throughout the season.
Absent from his 2014 season was the hallmark that made him such a valued contributor the year before, which was, in a word, consistency. While not completely excellent in any individual area, Foster regularly delivered an even performance without many mistakes or penalties, and that’s about as much as a coach can ask out of an offensive lineman.
Foster struggled in particular against the Baltimore Ravens a year ago, whom he was asked to face on three separate occasions, though there were other games throughout the season that also painted the picture of an up and down year.
That’s not to say that he didn’t have his share of successes, but there’s no doubt that he is hoping to re-establish himself in 2015. Particularly considering it will be a contract year, if he is not extended beforehand.