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: Carlos Davis
Experience: 2 Years
The 2021 season could hardly be described as anything but disappointing for Carlos Davis, the young second-year defensive lineman. The Steelers drafted him in the seventh round in 2020 out of Nebraska, and was a mildly surprising roster success. He didn’t play much as a rookie, but he offered flashes of skill when he did.
Early in the 2021 offseason, after Tyson Alualu had agreed in principle to sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars, attentions shifted to Davis, who would potentially move into the starting lineup at nose tackle, and there was some optimism that he could handle it.
Well, Alualu missed most of the season after suffering a fractured ankle in week two. The only problem is that Davis was injured in Week 1, and spent most of the season sidelined. The team didn’t even move him to the Reserve/Injured List until late October, where he would spend the next five weeks before being activated on December 2.
Upon his return, he dressed for only three games, logging 50 snaps on the season, 17 of which were form the season opener, when he was injured. He was not even active for the regular-season finale, nor the postseason game.
They chose to dress Henry Mondeaux over him for those two games, and Mondeaux is a player who doesn’t have a high degree of likelihood of making the 53-man roster again. As a result of where he finished things off in the 2021 season, it’s hard to be brimming with confidence about what the future holds.
With that being said, it would certainly be a mistake to write him off. He missed most of the year with a knee injury, and even when he returned, he was still appearing on the injury report, at times, with the knee injury. Perhaps he was never fully healthy. For a position that is so dependent upon core stability, playing on a compromised knee is a big handicap.