The Pittsburgh Steelers are back in the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex earlier than they had anticipated, having been ousted from the postseason in the opening round, which unfortunately marks a slight improvement from the past two seasons, during which they did not even qualify for the playoffs altogether. They have now done four seasons without securing a victory beyond regular season play.
Yet again, they find themselves undergoing the exit meeting process earlier than anticipated, which means so are we.
They did manage to go 12-4 during the regular season, and secured their first AFC North title since 2017, posting a new franchise record by opening the season with 11 consecutive wins, but of course it all fell apart after that. Their only victory after that required a 17-point comeback.
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 2020 season.
Player: Matt Feiler
Experience: 4 Years
While the general consensus among fans seems to be that Matt Feiler’s first season as a full-time guard was a failure, analysis requires quite a lot more nuance than that. It’s certainly true that he had more success when he was starting at tackle during the previous two seasons, but his showing at guard was, at a minimum, adequate.
But when it comes to the exit meeting, we’re not just talking about guard. We have to talk about tackle, too, because with the turnover along the offensive line, we could realistically be talking about Feiler potentially moving back to guard depending upon where the other dominos fall this offseason.
After all, there is David DeCastro at right guard, and at least so far, it seems there is a more than reasonable chance that Maurkice Pouncey returns to play center—even if he doesn’t, Feiler isn’t playing there. Then you have Kevin Dotson available to step in and play left guard already.
In other words, there is a realistic chance that Feiler is back starting at right tackle for the Steelers in 2021, depending upon what else may happen between now and the start of the season. The team is comfortable with him playing either inside or outside, and they know they’ve already lost valuable depth elsewhere.
With Alejandro Villanueva surely a free agency departure—barring retirement—they can’t afford to lose too many pieces. Feiler may prove to be one of their more affordable mid-tier free agents, and one can only hope that he can be retained for a reasonable price.