The Pittsburgh Steelers ended the 2019 season much as they did the 2018 season, by allowing their playoff fate slip out of their grasp. Slow starts and slow finishes permeated both campaigns, with strong runs in between. But while the results were the same missing the playoffs, the means were quite different.
Yet again, they find themselves undergoing the exit meeting process earlier than anticipated, which means so are we. But that they still managed to go 8-8 without Ben Roethlisberger, and with the general quality of play that they faced along the way, I suppose things could have been worse.
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: David DeCastro
Position: Right Guard
Experience: 8 Years
Wow, has David DeCastro really been in the NFL for eight years already? A Pro Bowler five years running, the 2012 first-round pick is now 30 years old. All of the Steelers’ starters along the offensive line short of Matt Feiler are over the 30-year-mark now, which is cause for concern. There’s going to be need for a serious rebuild within the next few years.
But not quite yet for DeCastro, who is still legitimately playing at a high level as one of the top guards of the NFL. It would certainly be nice to see him have Marshal Yanda-like longevity, and to that end, he has had pretty good durability over the course of his career. He has played 100 percent of the snaps in four of the past six seasons, and I believe it would have been five of six had he not been held out of the 2017 finale for rest.
I think it’s an easy argument to make that DeCastro was the Steelers’ best lineman in 2019. All of Alejandro Villanueva, Ramon Foster, and Maurkice Pouncey took a step back from their usual level of play, and Feiler is not quite on the same level, though he is certainly very solid. To his credit, he might have been their second-best lineman.
As far as the subject at hand goes, however, he has taken over the crown as the Steelers’ most consistent lineman, both from play to play and season to season. He did have issues with consistency in the earlier portions of his career, but over perhaps the past three seasons, he has really solidified himself as a virtual machine on the field, and he’s also grown as a leader by example on top of that.