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: Brice McCain
Experience: 6 Years
After spending his first five years in the NFL with the Texans, Brice McCain was released by the team that drafted him a little under a year ago from today, and the Steelers took the opportunity to add him to their roster. Tomlin earlier that offseason spoke of the need to have four cornerbacks, and it seemed that McCain gave the team the fourth they were looking for.
Of course, that was before the team’s top two cornerbacks on the roster went down with both physical and mental ailments. Suddenly McCain was thrust into a much greater role than anticipated, and truth be told, he performed well.
McCain set a career high by a good margin after starting nine regular season games with the Steelers, his previous high being four. This was after spending the first two games of the season on the inactive list.
Once Ike Taylor went down in the third game, it was time for McCain to take on a bigger role. William Gay moved from the slot to the outside and McCain came onto the field in the slot when the Steelers moved to their nickel defense.
That lasted only three games, because during the seventh game of the season, the Steelers demoted Cortez Allen, promoting McCain into the starting lineup. He played on the outside in the base defense and moved into the slot in sub-packages.
By season’s end, the sixth-year veteran played nearly 700 snaps on defense for the Steelers, which is certainly far more than either bargained for. Under ideal circumstances, McCain may have never seen the field after signing a one-year veteran-minimum contract.
But it was precisely because of seasons such as last year’s that drive home the point that signings such as McCain are so valuable. They are players that you don’t choose to play, but you’re glad that you have them by the time you need them.
McCain is not the ideal for his position by any means, standing at under 5’10”, but he has decent speed and the attitude necessary to play the position. He will lose his battles but come right back on the next play.
He tied for the team lead last season with three interceptions, including two in the season finale that won the division, and he also had a game-sealing pick six earlier in the year. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Steelers try to lock him down with a multiple-year contract in the coming weeks. He turns 29 in December.