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: Sammie Coates
Position: Wide Receiver
Experience: 2 Years
This is a difficult spot in the pecking order to review because I reserved this slot for the Steelers’ number two wide receiver. Problem is that the Steelers didn’t really have one of those for most of the season. but when they did, it was second-year wide receiver Sammie Coates.
That wouldn’t have ever even happened had Martavis Bryant not gotten suspended. The fact that Markus Wheaton was sidelined to start the season with a shoulder injury that eventually landed him on injured reserve swung the door wide open for the former third-round pick.
And he stormed through the door streaking down the field for 40-yard gain after 40-yard gain. He had six of those over the course of the first five games to put a specific number to it, and just to remind you, that still tied for the league lead by the end of the year in spite of the fact that he was pretty much a non-factor following his hand injury in that fifth game.
Coates has an intriguing combination of size, speed, and strength. He still needs to work on the mental aspect of the wide receiver position and understanding where he fits in the offense on any given play. His footwork and route-running need polishing. His drop rate can be better even while discounting the fact that most of his drops on the year came after his hand injury.
But boy is there a lot of potential there, which he showed at the top of the year. Over 400 yards on 19 receptions and a pair of touchdowns following an upward trajectory in the first five games of the season? I sure would sign up for that again in 2017.
You are probably aware by now if you are a regular reader here that Coates recently underwent surgery to repair the damage that he suffered in two of the fingers on his left hand. That injury limited not only his ability, but his playing time.
The hope is that he can pick up right where he left off pre-injury next season, though the Steelers are also hoping that they will have more options at the number two position with the pending application for reinstatement from Bryant coming into play there.