The Pittsburgh Steelers find that their 2017 season ended a bit prematurely, and are undergoing the exit meeting process a couple weeks sooner than they would have liked. Nevertheless, 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: Tyler Matakevich
Position: Inside Linebacker
Experience: 2 Years
Prior to the Steelers signing Jon Bostic two a year- year contract in free agency, one would guess that Tyler Matakevich was penciled in as the starter at Ryan Shazier’s position in the defense heading into the 2018 season.
He went into the last year as the top backup at both inside linebacker positions, but injuries prevented him from actually performing in that capacity when it became necessary late in the season when Shazier was injured. Already dealing with a shoulder injury, he aggravated it after he replaced Shazier and would only play on special teams for the rest of the season.
He had surgery in the offseason to repair the damage that he suffered, but it might be the draft that determines whether or not he will return to his role from last season that left him just one snap away from being in the starting lineup.
Even with the addition of Bostic, inside linebacker still figures to be high on Pittsburgh’s draft board. A first-round pick used on the position would certainly be more than reasonable.
When it comes to Matakevich, he obviously profiles better strictly as an in-the-box buck linebacker. It’s possible that he could serve as the backup to Vince Williams in the upcoming season even if they draft a pedigreed player, rather than having one backup for both spots.
The former seventh-round draft pick doesn’t have a ton of tape out there, but truth be told, he did not look great on defense this past season. He made cameo appearances during the goal-line defense and was one of the biggest problems in it very frequently failing and allowing touchdowns.
He also had a rough go of it in the preseason, playing with the starters and against the starters of other teams because Shazier was nursing an injury in training camp, which means he was playing against a higher level of competition than the year before in the preseason.
For now, his home is on special teams, where he has become an integral contributor. He has led the team in special teams tackles in each of the past two seasons, and created some very meaningful impact plays. He blocked a punt that was recovered for a touchdown on the opening drive in the season opener, then a week later recorded a pass defensed on a fake punt. He also recorded another partially blocked punt later on in the season.