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: Terence Garvin
Position: Inside Linebacker
Experience: 2 Years
Terence Garvin was a longshot to make the roster in 2013, to put it mildly. The Steelers already had no shortage of linebackers, and he not only failed to be drafted, but also was unable to secure a free agent contract after the draft. He had to earn his spot on the Steelers’ 90-man offseason roster via a tryout.
He has played in every game since, barring the season finale during his rookie season, following an injury in the previous game that ended his year.
Of course, he has been limited largely to special teams, but he has emerged as one of the Steelers’ premiere special teams players, leading the team in tackles with 15 on the year. And considering all the penalty issues the team had a year ago on special teams, it’s certainly worth noting that Garvin drew no flags.
The second-year linebacker was admittedly extremely limited on defense in 2014, though that had largely to do with the quality depth that existed in front of him, including a rookie first-round draft pick who was immediately injected into the starting lineup and a third-year player seeing action for the first time due to injury.
Last season, Garvin saw just 12 snaps on defense, with seven of them coming in the season game, in a goal-line alignment that included six linebackers. He was beaten in coverage for a touchdown in one instance. He logged a snap or two in four other games to no significance.
In his rookie season, however, he was actually beginning to split some time and take over a series or two at inside linebacker. He saw 23 snaps in his last game of the season before suffering an injury, though he did get exposed as a run defender at times due to his small frame.
There’s no question that Garvin offers tremendous value as a special teams player. He gets more than his share of tackles, and even manages to throw a block or two from time to time. He could be deserving of the title of special teams captain in 2015.
Whether or not he has a future on defense with the Steelers is not nearly as clear. The Steelers are returning their top four linebackers on the inside once again. While the team believes Garvin can play outside, it’s hard to imagine him logging many snaps, if any, on defense, barring injury.