The Pittsburgh Steelers find that their 2016 season ended a bit prematurely, and are undergoing the exit meeting process a couple weeks sooner than they would have liked. Never the less, what must be done must be done, and we are now at the time of the year where we close the book on one season and look ahead to the next.
While we might not know all the details about what goes on between Head Coach Mike Tomlin and his players during these exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings if they were let up to us. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2016 season.
Player: Ben Roethlisberger
Experience: 13 Years
Where would the Steelers be without Ben Roethlisberger? Perhaps scraping through overtime victories against the Browns. Actually, that is where the Steelers were with Roethlisberger in the 2016 regular-season finale. He just didn’t play in the game because he helped earn the team the third seed in the playoffs prior to it.
I say helped because he certainly didn’t do it alone. A great deal actually rested upon the shoulders of running back Le’Veon Bell over the course of the final 10 games of the regular season and the postseason together. And I wouldn’t necessarily say that he was at his best during that stretch.
Roethlisberger finished the season having played in 14 games, missing one due to injury, completing 64.4 percent of his passes—his lowest since 2012—for 3819 yards at 7.5 yards per pass attempt. He threw for 29 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, and was sacked a career-low 17 times.
During the postseason, over the course of three games, he completed two-thirds of his passes, yet averaged 7.7 yards per pass attempt despite the fact that he had Antonio Brown take two short passes 50-plus yards. He threw for three touchdowns versus four interceptions, and one of those touchdowns came late in a blowout loss to the Patriots.
Over the course of their seven-game winning streak to close out the year, Roethlisberger threw nine touchdown passes and six interceptions while never attempting more than 36 passes in a game. Despite the fact that he received the best pass protection of his career, his interception total when not pressured was elevated, as was the number of ‘pickable’ passes that he threw.
Of course, that is a harsh critique for one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Roethlisberger does have some concerning home-road splits—the best QB rating in the league at home, yet one of the worst in away games—but he is a championship-quality player without question.
Assuming that he doesn’t retire. Not that I expect him to, but Roethlisberger is at a point in his life in which he is thinking about it each year. He has three kids and he wants his knees and his brain to work when they grow up. Can’t say I blame him.