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: Marcus Allen
Experience: 3 Years
Based on snap counts, Marcus Allen was the Steelers’ next man up behind Robert Spillane for the backup inside linebacker position last season, behind their starters, Devin Bush and Joe Schobert. In fact, due to injuries, the former safety even had to start one game in the penultimate game of the regular season against the Cleveland Browns, seeing 37 snaps.
He played a total of 76 defensive snaps, including the postseason, which consisted of all of one game. But he did play 14 snaps (registering two tackles). But he played over 300 snaps on special teams, establishing himself as a core player in that phase.
Allen finished the season with 13 total tackles, playing in 16 games with one start, most of those tackles coming via special teams. He did get some usage, at times, in sub-packages, even playing more of a defensive back role.
As previously alluded to, Allen was drafted as a safety how of Penn State in 2018. The coaching staff decided to transition him to linebacker in 2020 to help him improve his chances of sticking, something that they always knew was a possibility when they drafted him.
He has since grown more comfortable in a linebacker role, though at times it still looks a bit unnatural. But they continue to value what he can bring, both on special teams and on defense, retaining him on an original-round restricted free agent tender earlier this week.
He will have competition for a roster spot, however, though his special teams will help him. In addition to Devin Bush and now Myles Jack as the starters, and Robert Spillane coming back as well, also returning are Ulysees Gilbert III and 2021 rookie Buddy Johnson. They managed to fit six on the 53-man roster last season, but that’s not likely to happen two years in a row.