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: B.J. Finney
Experience: 1 Year
The Steelers’ backup quarterback may not be a fan favorite, but their backup center certainly is. B.J. Finney was well-liked from the moment it was announced that the team signed him as an undrafted free agent following the 2015 NFL Draft, since it came with a video showing him tearing up while announcing it to his gathered friends and family.
Finney suffered an injury on the penultimate play of his rookie preseason, which resulted in him being waived injured, but he was later re-signed to the team’s practice squad, and by the end of the season the Steelers evidently got word that another team wanted to sign him, because they gave him a raise equivalent to that of a rostered salary.
He made the 53-man roster in his second season, and in part because of the opportunity created due to Cody Wallace’s injury, ended up being the Steelers’ primary backup interior offensive lineman as a first-year player.
Finney was called into action as early as the third game of the year, when starting left guard Ramon Foster had to tap out of the Eagles game in the second quarter while trying to play through a shoulder injury.
The Steelers’ lined as besieged in that game—and they lost substantially—but the first-year player held his own, and he started in place of Foster the following week despite suffering a finger injury on the Thursday before the game.
It was the first game back for Le’Veon Bell, and Finney helped block for a 143-yard day for him. The young lineman started in place of Foster later in the season in Buffalo and saw Bell set a new franchise record in rushing yards in a game, also nearing 300 total yards.
A natural center and a Rimington Trophy finalist in college, Finney got the opportunity to start the season finale at his most familiar position, but it was clearly the worst of his three starts. It didn’t help that he was working with pretty much all backups or backup-worthy players on offense aside from his fellow offensive linemen.
I think it’s pretty clear that Finney’s performance last season cemented his role as the team’s top interior reserve going forward. At the moment it seems unlikely that they will even re-sign Wallace.