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: Terrell Edmunds
Experience: 2 Years
Minkah Fitzpatrick was the first safety taken off the board during the 2018 NFL Draft. Terrell Edmunds was the third. The Steelers have both of them as their starting safety tandem, and they are controlled for the next three years, presuming the team picks up their fifth-year options after the 2020 season.
While Fitzpatrick has already broken out in a major way, earning first-team All-Pro honors in 2019, Edmunds is further behind. He registered over 100 tackles last season as the starting strong safety, but despite playing in the box a lot, he had just two tackles for loss. In fact, he had zero interceptions and only three passes defensed, fewer than he had even as a rookie.
Edmunds was the only member of the secondary to play a significant number of snaps to fail to record an interception last season. Fitzpatrick, Joe Haden, Steven Nelson, Mike Hilton, Cameron Sutton, and Kameron Kelly all managed to pick off at least one pass, as did T.J. Watt, Mark Barron, and Devin Bush among the linebackers. Edmunds and Bud Dupree, the only starters on defense outside of the front line without an interception. The strong safety who played over 1000 snaps.
To make matters worse, he also missed a number of tackles. Yet in spite all of this, it’s not as though his play was awful or anything. He still was part of one of the best secondaries in the league, and not a passive participant by any means.
He is, however, a former first-round pick, and was a second-year player who failed to make the second-year jump expected of him. Perhaps the changes around him, including at the coaching level, had a role to play. Whatever the reason, he needs to be able to take that next step in his game for the 2020 season. He doesn’t need to become a superstar, just a really solid, consistent player. A Ryan Clark type sure would be nice, with better man coverage ability.