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: Stephon Tuitt
Position: Defensive End
Experience: 6 Years
How different might this season have been had Stephon Tuitt stayed healthy all year? Well…probably not very different at all. There’s a slight possibility they might have won one more game, perhaps, but even that wouldn’t have gotten them into the postseason, as things would turn out.
Nevertheless, that’s not to discount the quality performance that he put on display over the course of the first five games before he suffered an injury that would land him on injured reserve for the rest of the year. This was the most significant injury of his career, and one would hope that he is already well on his way back to full health.
Through the first five games, Tuitt had recorded 22 tackles to go along with three and a half sacks. To pro-rate that over the span of a full season, that would amount to about 71 tackles with 11 sacks. He had six tackles for loss in just five games, and that would translate to 19 tackles for loss on the year.
Of course, you should know by now what they say about small sample size, but the point is, he was playing very well before he was injured, the best start of his career, and that is a great sign that, you know, he was going to have the best season yet.
Already six years in the league, Tuitt will still only be turning 27 in May, so he is still pretty young with plenty of time ahead of him. 2018 was arguably his best year. 2019 looked like it should have been his best. 2020 should be even better.
Especially with the pairing of both himself and Cameron Heyward playing at the top of their game. Their working in tandem will go a long way toward accounting for the likely loss of Javon Hargrave, though it’s likely even more will now be asked of them. Tuitt, at least, will be rested, and eager to prove himself.