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: Kendrick Green
Experience: 1 Year
The Steelers knew that they had to hit on their first pick from the offensive line position during the 2021 NFL Draft after bypassing it in the first two rounds, even if they came away with foundational pieces on offense at the skill positions for doing so.
Nobody’s story is fully written after just one season, but the results were less than good for that first pick during his rookie year. The would be interior lineman Kendrick Green, drafted in the third round, who started the majority of the 2021 season at center, though he primarily played guard in college.
There were numerous factors working against the offensive line having success this year, beginning with the fact that they parted ways with four of their five starters from the previous year, as well as their top position coach. Starting two rookies did not help, either.
But Green in particular struggled, and frequently, and in different ways. He had multiple games in which his basic inability to snap the ball accurately or in a timely manner were a legitimate hindrance. More often, however, he simply found himself on the ground, frequently.
The Steelers stuck with him, nearly all the way, at least until he got injured late in the season. J.C. Hassenauer started in his place, and he remained in that role even once Green returned. Head coach Mike Tomlin essentially acknowledged toward the end that Hasssenauer was playing due to performance and not injury.
After the season, both Tomlin and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger talked openly about the possibility of Green switching positions back to guard in his second season. That may or may not be in his and the team’s best interests.
But it certainly doesn’t bode well for the prospects of him being the starting center in 2022. Of course, there’s plenty of time between now and the start of next season, and he’s a very young player with ample opportunity to prove himself, and prove others wrong.