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: Derrek Tuszka
Experience: 2 Years
After spending the majority of his rookie season in 2020 serving as a special teamer for the Denver Broncos, Derrek Tuszka failed to make the cut entering last season. The Steelers signed him to their practice squad at the start of the year, but due to injuries elevated him to the 53-man roster early on.
Then they decided that he could be a greater asset to them on the 53-man roster than could Jamir Jones, who was a Reserve/Future signing who made a strong run during the preseason to make the team. He ended up getting claimed by the Los Angeles Rams, and then was later claimed a second time off waivers by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He ended up playing about 100 defensive snaps and 250 special teams snaps.
Tuszka had a bigger role in Pittsburgh, however, logging a bit under 250 defensive snaps. He still logged nearly 200 snaps on special teams, as well. In all, he finished the season with 18 tackles, including one for loss, with two sacks, a forced fumble, and a quarterback hit.
He is already under contract for the 2022 season, and at least as of this writing, would be the team’s number one backup behind T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith, perhaps. They did retain veteran John Simon, who was a late-season addition, but they also have Taco Charlton slated to become an unrestricted free agent, whom they may re-sign.
Tuszka is not a high-upside player, but he could be a contributor in the vein of an Anthony Chickillo, somebody who can give you a certain number of snaps without being a liability, who will display a consistent motor and a willingness to do anything asked of him.