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: Vince Williams
Position: Inside Linebacker
Experience: 4 Years
Well here’s a rare example of an exit meeting getting more interesting as time passes by. The future of Vince Williams got a lot more complex when the Steelers lost veteran starting inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons in free agency, which ostensibly leaves Williams as the next inside to start at the buck position.
I’m not even entirely sure off the top of my head if Williams and Ryan Shazier have ever played on the field together in a meaningful game, since he usually comes on the field because Shazier has gotten hurt, which means that he has usually been on the field together with Timmons instead.
Williams made a handful of starts once again this past season in place of Shazier next to Timmons and he registered 35 tackles with two sacks in those four games. He recorded nearly 50 tackles on the season, several of which obviously came from his time on special teams.
The way Williams plays on special teams is indicative of the only way he knows how to play, which is with commitment and intensity. He profiles as a strong run defender, but many are rightfully questioning his ability to handle the deep coverage responsibilities of his position in more traditional zone drops.
The former sixth-round draft pick actually had his most extensive playing time during his rookie season due to injury, but at the time he was rotated in and out of the game in favor of a quarter look with six defensive backs. The Steelers may adopt a similar though less extensive philosophy in the post-Timmons era.
Williams dealt with a shoulder injury late in the season last year, but played through it during the postseason to contribute on special teams, making four tackles. He soon after had surgery, though I presume he is doing considerably better at this point.