The Pittsburgh Steelers’ season ended a few weeks earlier that they had planned it to, but now that their 2015 campaign has drawn to a conclusion, it’s time to wrap things up and take stock of where they are and how they got there. Part of that process involves holding player exit meetings at the conclusion of each season.
Of course, we’re not privy to the specifics that go on in each of these meetings between head coach and player, and whomever else might be involved in any particular discussion, but if we were conducting them, it might go something like this.
Player: Chris Hubbard
Position: Offensive Lineman
Experience: 2 Years
Looking it up, Chris Hubbard actually only played 33 snaps for the Steelers during the regular season, which to me doesn’t really sound like as much as I expected going into this exit meeting. It seemed to me at least that he was used at least a bit more than he actually was. But then again there aren’t many times to use a tackle-eligible tight end when you have quality tight ends in the first place.
But the biggest surprise to me was when Hubbard even made the roster at all, so terrible was his performance during the preseason. Much of that preseason work, however, came at center, which is a position that he had never played in a game before, even if Tomlin claimed later that he had practiced the position, which nobody else has ever claimed to have witnessed to my knowledge.
No doubt due in large part to injuries, however, Hubbard did make the 53-man roster, and by the end of the season, in fact, he was the Steelers’ sixth lineman, the player who would have to step up no matter who went down—except perhaps for the center, during which case Doug Legursky may have stepped in.
But the interior of the offensive line never missed any meaningful snaps, nor did the right tackle position later in the year. Hubbard did have to briefly step in at left tackle for a few snaps and did not embarrass himself.
Of course, the primary capacity that he served during the regular season was as a tackle-eligible, and these snaps came primarily when somebody at the tight end position was out for a game due to injury, which happened a couple of times during the year.
While far from flawless, he actually performed in this role better than I expected him to based on his preseason performance, which was admittedly a regression even from his previous showings over the past two years.
As far as his ceiling goes, who knows. Depending on what happens during the free agency process, it would not be out of the realm of possibility that he finds himself in a training camp battle to start at left guard. The coaching staff thinks highly of him, particularly in terms of his intelligence and versatility. He has spent two years now on the 53-man roster, after all.