The Pittsburgh Steelers have a major set challenges facing them for the offseason of 2019 after they managed to miss the postseason for the first time in five years. The failure has been taken especially grievously because of the fact that the team was in position to control their own fate even for homefield advantage with six games remaining before dropping four games.
And so they find themselves getting the exit meeting process underway at least two weeks earlier than they have had to in years, since they have made it to at least the Divisional Round since 2015. Hopefully they used those extra two weeks with purpose.
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 2018 season.
Player: Mike Hilton
Experience: 2 Years
Some of the first-year veneer has worn off of Mike Hilton, to be quite honest, who legitimately played like one of the team’s best defensive players, pound-for-pound, during his first season in the NFL in 2017. The 5’9” cornerback wasn’t able to get away with as many plays as he did the previous year in 2018, however. While he didn’t have a ‘bad’ year, by any means, it certainly wasn’t a step up from what he had previously shown.
For starters, the only interception that he had this past season was off of a deflection at the line of scrimmage, an easy play to make. He also had a fumble recovery that was a gift. But he did have a bit more success in actually making plays on the football, registering eight passes defensed after having six the previous season, and several of them were high-quality contests in tight coverage.
He was less dynamic, however, in every other area. He wasn’t nearly as successful as a blitzer, finishing with only one sack in spite of a high number of blitzes, and his pressure numbers overall also indicate a decline as teams now know to expect him.
His run defense, while still better than the average cornerback—and certainly the average Steelers quarterback—also continued to come back down to earth. He did have the highest run-stop percentage of all cornerbacks with at least 100 snaps against the run, though, so beggars can’t be choosers.
But the thing is, teams are, I think, learning to exploit his size, both in coverage and against the run. He didn’t miss as many tackles this season as he did last year (a bigger problem than many wanted to acknowledge), but he also failed to be in position to many several tackles he might otherwise have been able to make.
This might sound overly harsh, but the reality is that they need him to be this good based on the talent around him, and so is already being held to higher standards. He struggled down the stretch in particular and only played 16 snaps in the season finale.