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: Johnny Maxey
Position: Defensive End
Experience: 0 Years
For the sake of improved consistency in the future, these exit meeting articles are going to feature a team’s number of accrued seasons by league standards as their experience level. In the case of Johnny Maxey, he did not dress for enough games to earn an accrued season, and thus has no experience, deemed a first-year player for 2017.
It’s still somewhat of a marvel that he even made it to the 53-man roster, however. A rookie undrafted free agent and a small-school product, Maxey had an uphill battle on his hands to try to stand out for his coaches to try to earn himself some quality snaps in the preseason.
While he did not log many snaps at all—I’m not sure if he played, actually—in the third, ‘dress rehearsal’ preseason game, he did see time in the Steelers’ other three exhibition contests and recorded two tackles apiece in each of them.
While Maxey has the length that the team looks for in their defensive ends, he is a bit light and will likely be asked to put on some additional weight. That wasn’t much of an issue against backups of backups in the preseason, but he did get handled in traffic more when he saw time in the regular season.
He had to get there first, however, and while he showed his coaches some positive signs, it wasn’t enough for a spot on the 53-man roster right off the bat. He joined Caushaud Lyons, who was on the practice squad last season, at said location at the start of the year, but he was called up late in the season for the final two regular season games following injuries to Cameron Heyward and then Stephon Tuitt.
While he only recorded one tackle in those two games, he probably helped himself more than hurt with his play. He made some rookie mistakes, particularly in the finale where he played more extensively, that led to some plays being produced, but that is to be anticipated.
Still, there is unlikely to be a spot back on the 53 for Maxey in 2017, but the Steelers will welcome him back on the practice squad. I don’t know what sort of ceiling he might have or how close he is to it, but he fills the bill for that role.