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: JuJu Smith-Schuster
Experience: 4 Years
Everybody’s favorite player—or at least he used to be. JuJu Smith-Schuster has seemingly lost a lot of fans over the course of the past several months, those who took offense to his dancing on logos or seemingly slighting the Cleveland Browns, or simply weary of his social media presence and making the assumption that it diminishes the effort he puts on the field.
Yet all things considered, he had a good season. He caught 97 passes in 2020 on just 128 targets, catching nearly 76 percent of the passes thrown his way, though of course that has more than a little something to do with the fact that he had a very shallow 5.5-yard average depth of target.
That is reflected in the fact that he only produced 831 receiving yards on those 97 receptions, or just 8.6 yards per reception, which would be good for a running back, but certainly eyebrow-raising for a wide receiver. But then again, he was almost used as a running back at times.
That includes being thrown the ball on third down short of the sticks and being asked to fight through contact for first downs, something that he did time and time again. This was the most physical season of his career, and more often than not, he stepped up to the plate, resulting in a career-high nine touchdowns.
He also capped it off with a 13-catch, 157-yard, one-touchdown postseason performance, albeit in a losing effort, but unfortunately, the play most Steelers fans will most remember—and do so gladly—will be Bengals safety Vonn Bell hitting him as he turned to secure a catch, jarring the ball loose for a fumble.
You know, because he danced. And pretty soon he’ll be dancing all the way to the bank, because somebody is about to pay him a lot of money.