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: Chase Claypool
Experience: 1 Year
The Steelers don’t always have a rookie wide receiver break out into the starting lineup, but when they do, he usually sets some kind of record, or at least comes pretty close to it. Second-round pick Chase Claypool is the latest example of that, coming in and making an impact early, and eventually, often.
The 6’4”, 234-pounder made a couple of significant plays in the opener, including a low-probability 28-yard catch down the right sideline, and then finished off the game on a sweep for a first round on 4th and short. A week later, he broke out with an 84-yard touchdown, which stood as the longest catch of the season for most of the year.
Injuries to Diontae Johnson around that time gave Claypool extended opportunities to continue to see playing time, and by the time the former was healthy, the latter established himself as somebody that they didn’t want to take off the field.
They did, of course, in the second half of the year, at least a little bit, head coach Mike Tomlin trying to manage his snaps, but he still typically played around two thirds of the snaps, all the same. And his reps snapped back up at the end of the season, the theory being that you want to “leave some bullets in the chamber”.
Claypool would record his second 100-yard game of the season in the finale, with his ninth receiving touchdown and 11th overall, both of the latter two being team rookie records. He also totaled 62 receptions, another rookie record. In the postseason loss, he added two more touchdowns.
Needless to say, the future is bright for the young budding star, who has all the physical gifts you could want at the position, with the developing skills to go along with it. As long as he can avoid becoming overly focused on ‘building his brand’, of course.