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: Robert Spillane
Experience: 2 Years
Well, the last few days have certainly been an adventure for Robert Spillane, though by no means unpredictable—arguably not even unexpected. A short time after being extended an exclusive rights free agent contract, which is pretty much a formality, the third-year veteran pretty much got a promotion after the Steelers released Vince Williams.
A former college free agent, Spillane has had a pretty quick rise lately. After being promoted from the practice squad midseason in 2019, he became a special teams ace, and then moved to a top reserve at the start of the 2020 season. Then Devin Bush got injured, and he moved into the starting lineup, logging close to 400 snaps on defense over the course of the year.
It would have been a good sight more than that if not for the fact that he suffered a knee injury late in the year that caused him to miss the final four games of the regular season. That’s a whole quarter of the year, and another 272 potential snaps he could have played.
That is in the past now, though. What’s done is done, and what he can control is what happens next. As it stands, he figures to move into the starting lineup next to Bush, which is a better role for him than actually replacing Bush.
The latter is the speed guy, the coverage guy, the every-down guy, the signal caller. While Spillane can and did set the defense, he can’t replicate those other things the way Bush did. He obviously profiles much more similar to Williams, so he and Bush should complement one another better than Spillane and Williams did.