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: Maurkice Pouncey
Experience: 7 Years
I would like to think by now that the majority of people who were advocating for trading Maurkice Pouncey because Cody Wallace could do that job for a fraction of the cost have by now eaten their words and regurgitated them twice over.
The Steelers just got out of their offensive line arguably the best performance in franchise history, and while the evolution of the tackles had a lot to do with it, the return of their Pro Bowl center was in my opinion the singularly stabilizing move that allowed everything to finally coalesce into the finished product we have been waiting to see.
I would not say that Pouncey had his best season. The rest of the football world seemed to agree, as while he made the Pro Bowl, he was left off the All-Pro list for the first time in his career in a season in which he was healthy. Of course, not making the All-Pro list in one of five career healthy seasons is not exactly an indictment.
He is still easily one of the best centers in the game, and there is no reason to believe that he cannot take another step closer to his 2014 form, a year that I believe was the best of his career. It is definitely important to keep in mind what he went through the year before with a fractured fibula and subsequent infections that resulted in more than half a dozen total surgical procedures.
It wouldn’t exactly be a shock if he is not completely up and running to the best of his ability in the first season after that. And it might be worth noting that, at least from my perspective, he played some of his best football of the season in the latter stages of the year rather than at the start, during which he was a bit rusty.
He was hardly penalized or gave up sacks. His work in the running game was instrumental to the success in that area if you consider the number of runs up the middle. His ability to pull from the center position was used to great effect on multiple occasions. And I am optimistic that he can be better in 2017.