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: Tyler Matakevich
Experience: 4 Years
It’s time to talk about everybody’s favor. That’s right, we’re discussing Dirty Red today, the guy that only Alex Kozora seemingly thinks the Steelers need to re-sign. I admit that even I am not in that camp, though I think it’s possible they do re-sign him provided that the Collective Bargaining Agreement passes. He should not be very expensive, naturally, and roster displacement must be considered in weighing any contract that he might sign.
Otherwise, everybody already knows the drill at this point. Including the Steelers. He played fewer snaps on defense in 2019 than he did in any of his three previous seasons, even as a rookie in 2016. Pittsburgh felt so strongly about the need to upgrade the inside linebacker position defensively that they went out and signed Mark Barron, then traded up in the first round for Devin Bush, and finally came back in to get Ulysees Gilbert III in the sixth.
It may be a combination of Gilbert and Robert Spillane that see to Matakevich’s way out of town, however, as they each demonstrated the potential to replace, or come close to replicating, what Dirty Red best offered the team, which is special teams ability.
Nobody in the league had more tackles on special teams than he did over the past four years, but Spillane recorded 11 tackles on special teams in just eight games last year. Gilbert recorded a high volume of snaps there in the first half of the season before he was injured.
Matakevich is very good in his role, but Gilbert is the future there, and can’t be risk. I also can’t deny being intrigued by Spillane, who seems to be a Matakevich type himself, yet only going into his second accrued season.