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 the fifth consecutive season in which they failed to win a postseason game—a new record for the franchise since the merger. Yet again, they find themselves undergoing the exit meeting process earlier than anticipated, which means so are we.
The Steelers did arguably perform at or above expectations this year by going 9-7-1 and making the postseason at all, a reflection of just how much talent they lost during the offseason, from the majority of the offensive line to Mike Hilton, Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson, and Vince Williams—not to mention Stephon Tuitt, essentially.
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 2021 season.
Player: Diontae Johnson
Experience: 3 Years
By some measures, you could call this past year a breakout season for wide receiver Diontae Johnson. He record over 100 receptions and over 1000 receiving yards for the first time in his career, and he also set a new career-high mark in touchdowns. He became a go-to target and came up big in a number of key moments.
It’s only a shame that he didn’t sustain that for the entire season. Not only did his numbers dwindle as the season progressed, he became increasingly prone to mistakes. He was largely free of dropped passes for a good bulk of the year, but suffered several of them over the last month and a half of the year or so, including the playoff loss.
He still scored three touchdowns in his final four games, but he also failed to top 51 receiving yards in his final five, which kind of coincided with his being passed over for Pro Bowl consideration, something that he acknowledged was a goal for him.
Johnson is a phenomenal talent and unquestionably one of the best route runners in the NFL right now. While not even close to last season’s issues, however, there are still elements that are holding him back from taking the next level of stardom.
Whether it’s dropped passes, untimely fumbles, failure to pick up a hot route, or penalties (mostly pre-snap issues), there are certainly things that he could stand to clean up as he heads into an important offseason, during which he has said that he hopes to receive a contract extension entering year four.