By Matthew Marczi
End-of-season player exit meetings are not something that we are often privy to as outsiders of the football world. Generally, we only get a glimpse into that world when a player is asked by a reporter how the meeting went, if the player is willing to discuss it.
Still, it’s not generally a hard concept to grasp, and we have a pretty good feel by now of how Mike Tomlin and his staff likes to operate, and we see all the game film, so it’s not an overly difficult project to simulate. If we were to administer the end-of-season player exit meetings, it might go something like this.
Player: Ramon Foster
Position: Left Guard
Experience: 5 Years
Before this season, five-year veteran offensive lineman Ramon Foster had never entered an offseason having been penciled in as a starter. Never the less, he still started 42 games in his first four seasons in the league, despite having coming in as an undrafted free agent, making four starts as a rookie in 2009.
In 2014, at now 28 years old as of this month, he is not only the veteran of the offensive line group, but the leader, and he came into his own not only in that role but also as a football player this year.
Going back a year, it wasn’t clear that Foster was even in the Steelers’ plans after having drafted guard David DeCastro in the first round of that year’s draft and moving Willie Colon to guard. Due to an injury to DeCastro, however, Foster once again found himself in the starting lineup.
He in fact started 16 games that season, the first time in his career, with the first 13 coming at right guard before moving the left guard when Colon went down and DeCastro was finally ready to play. His performance during that span earned him a nice, new three-year contract and a bit of job security for a change.
Come 2013, DeCastro is back healthy and ready to go, and Colon is released due to his lengthy injury history and incongruous salary. Foster is now the starting left guard, though most of his prior playing experience came at right guard.
Not only did he turn in absolutely the best performance of his career, he was the Steelers’ best offensive lineman of the year, actually outplaying DeCastro, who started off slow and then was later hampered by injuries.
Foster quietly had himself a very impressive season as he worked to establish himself as a strong pass protector—a far cry from the days of Chris Kemoeatu. Pro Football Focus has him down for just 16 pressures all season, including only two sacks, and he finished tied for fifth in Pass Blocking Efficiency—with Colon, of all people, who had himself a nice season with the New York Jets.
While he is by no means an elite run blocker, he does a more than serviceable job in this department, and he clearly worked on his mobility during the offseason to more effectively execute the pulls that have for so long been a staple of Pittsburgh’s rushing attack.
Combine all that with his aforementioned leadership qualities and his near-penalty free play and you have yourself a very nice player in Ramon Foster. He’s not a superstar, but he gets the most out of what’s given to him. The Steelers could use more players like that.
Previous Articles In This Series
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – QB Ben Roethlisberger
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – WR Antonio Brown
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – WR Emmanuel Sanders
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – TE Heath Miller
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – T Marcus Gilbert
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – G David DeCastro