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: Benny Snell
Experience: 3 Years
Moving on from the quarterback position, we’ll next dive into the backups at running back, who had a very uneventful season working behind the Steelers’ new workhorse in Najee Harris, who played 980 snaps this past year as a rookie.
Harris only dipped below 80 percent of the snaps in a game five times last year, those generally being tied to injuries suffered over the course of a game, though he never had a miss a game throughout the season. Because of an arm injury, Snell was limited to only 44 percent of the snaps in the postseason game, however.
When it wasn’t Harris on the field, though, it was usually Benny Snell, the third-year back, who claimed 110 snaps in 2021—less than half of the workload he got in 2020, and less even than he had during his rookie season in 2020, which also saw him miss three games due to injury.
Snell had just three carries in 2021, and produced just 98 rushing yards, averaging 2.7 yards per carry. He had just a 44.4 percent run success rate on 1st-and-10 carries last season, picking up at least four yards on eight of 18 attempts. He went 0-for-3 converting on third downs, though two of those carries were on 3rd-and-4 or longer. In all, he only had about a dozen or so successful runs on the season.
Of course, the run-blocking did him and everybody else no favors, yet he had a career-low 1.2 yards after contact per attempt, as well, and his yards before contact was actually the highest of his career. If I were Snell, I certainly wouldn’t be going into this offseason assuming my job was secure, even if, currently, there isn’t much competition for backup running back on the roster.