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: James Washington
Position: Wide Receiver
Experience: 1 Year
During the first wave of exit meetings, I didn’t even bother to include a third wide receiver with the offensive starters because nobody really rose to that level, at least not in comparison to the team’s top two tight ends, even if the third receiver position played more snaps.
But by the end of the season, if there was a wide receiver who was being utilized as the number three, I would say that it was rookie James Washington, who got the opportunity to make some plays down the stretch as he hopes to build a bridge into his second season.
As should go without saying, the Steelers will need to get much more out of Washington in year two than they got in his rookie season, and that will take on far bigger significance if the team ended up trading Antonio Brown, which could thrust him into a starting role long before he’s proven himself.
But that wouldn’t be too dissimilar to the situation with Markus Wheaton in 2014, or Sammie Coates in 2016. Not that either of their stories bode well for Washington’s future, but the reality is that the team has placed young players in positions of importance arguably before they were ready, and that could be the case again with Washington.
Despite a pretty strong preseason overall—or at least one game—Washington had a lot of difficulties during his rookie year. At least when Ben Roethlisberger’s passes were on-target, the receiver would struggle to run crisp routes or would simply not be on the same page at all.
The big moment came against Denver when he left his feet to try to snag a deep ball that was delivered a big long due to pressure, which he dropped. Roethlisberger called him out after that, which drew criticism, but Washington bounced back late in the year and hit on the exact same play.