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: Chris Hubbard
Experience: 2 Years
Chris Hubbard was signed as a free agent following the 2013 draft, after which he quickly earned the nickname “Mother” Hubbard from his head coach. Hubbard was one of many undrafted free agent linemen that the Steelers brought in to camp that year, but he was the only one that managed to stick.
He spent the entirety of his rookie season on the team’s practice squad, time that he reportedly spent wisely as he grew his craft. He returned to the Steelers in 2014 eager and ready to compete this time for a spot on the 53-man roster.
Hubbard logged a significant amount of playing time during the preseason, close to 150 snaps, all at the guard position. He saw time primarily at left guard, but also worked on the right side as well.
In the end, he showed enough growth from year one to year two for the Steelers to feel comfortable carrying him on the 53-man roster, working with new offensive line coach Mike Munchak and sticking with the team all year.
Of course, he spent nearly the entire season as a healthy scratch, participating in a single game during the regular season, the only game for which he was active.
It came during the third week of the season with the Steelers in Carolina. Left guard Ramon Foster was already out for the game and Pittsburgh was in the process of conducting its five-minute offense to drain the clock in what had become a blowout.
The Steelers pulled a couple of their starters on offense at that point, including center Maurkice Pouncey. Cody Wallace, starting for Foster, moved over from left guard to center, and Hubbard was inserted at left guard for the first game action of his career.
He was only in the game for seven snaps, but he helped LeGarrette Blount churn out yardage and time on the clock to allow the Steelers to end the game with a couple of kneel downs.
Obviously, there’s still a lot unknown about Hubbard and his future. He was good enough to make the roster, and even good enough to see some playing time due to injury, but are the Steelers comfortable with him in that role, or will they look to add competition this year in the hopes that somebody else could take his job?