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: Marcus Gilbert
Position: Right Tackle
Experience: 6 Years
It may have taken a few years to fully develop, but Marcus Gilbert has really transformed himself into a quality starting tackle over the course of the past three years, with the only thing really holding him back in that span of time being injuries, which have often been of a freak nature.
There seem to be many in the organization who believe his foot injury this past season may have cost him his first trip to the Pro Bowl, as he was sidelined because of it for three games, and it took him a game or two to get back into his previous form after he returned. Many there believe he has been a snub for two years running now, in fact.
The biggest thing that he has changed in recent years has been, literally, his body. He has taken on a greater sense of personal responsibility about his work and his health, and he has slimmed down significantly and improved his athleticism while maintaining his functional strength.
Of course physical changes haven’t been the only changes. Particularly in pass protection, Gilbert has made great strides in improving his hand usage, keeping them raised at a higher level for improved reaction time. He has also become more aggressive in battling with rushers and using jabs and hand-slap techniques to stifle them early.
I believe his work in the run game has long been an overlooked plus in his game, but that too has improved over the course of the past few years. No doubt he as the rest of the line have benefitted from working under Mike Munchak for the past two years.
Gilbert has come up against some elite pass rushers on the right side over the course of the past two years and they have found relatively little productivity, either in the run game or in the passing game, against him. I think that is really all the endorsement that his play needs.