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: Benny Snell
Position: Running Back
Experience: 1 Year
It was pretty much a given that the Steelers were going to draft a running back at some point last year, just one season after coming to the realization that they didn’t exactly have anybody to sufficiently back up the position if James Conner is not available.
Jaylen Samuels flirted with the possibility of being able to do that during his rookie season in 2018, largely based on one game against the New England Patriots in which the Steelers’ blocking scheme really got the better of them. In 2019, he averaged 2.7 yards per carry.
Rookie Benny Snell, on the other hand, showed some potential after a slow start, including in the preseason. Early on, he was very much looking like a big, lumbering back who lacked the explosiveness and athleticism to break any kind of tackle to get out to the boundary. He was tackled by the first defender or in the open field too many times in the early goings.
But he improved as things went along, to the point in which the Steelers were comfortable in allowing him to be the featured runner in several games in which Conner was not available or in which he went down with an injury.
While he never broke the 100-rushing-yard mark (he did reach 98), he topped 90 yards twice, 75 yards three times, and 60 yards four times. He had five games in which he recorded 16 or more carries, and only in one of them did he average under four yards per carry (or at least 3.94 yards per carry, to be pedantic).
He finished his rookie season with 426 rushing yards on 108 carries with two touchdowns. He was only targeted four times, catching three passes for 23 yards, but he did look at times as though he can contribute in this area, and also showed a proclivity toward embracing the blocking aspect of his position as well.