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Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – ILB Vince Williams


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: Vince Williams

Position: Inside Linebacker

Experience: 1 Year

I suspect that the Pittsburgh Steelers coaching staff had a much different exit meeting with rookie Vince Williams than they expected they might when they drafted him in the sixth round of the 2013 draft.

I certainly don’t suspect that they envisioned him starting 11 games and playing over 400 snaps as the Buck linebacker in his first season. But that’s exactly what happened following an opening day injury to Larry Foote, which ended his season prematurely—and, perhaps, began the ‘Vince Williams’ era early.

Of course, Williams has an awful lot of work to do before he can prove that he is a long-term starter, but I, and many others, I would imagine, share the opinion that he has earned the right to enter the offseason as a starter.

He wasn’t even dressed for the first game of the season, due to special teams needs, but he was the remaining 15 games of the season, and he played over half of the team’s defensive snaps in Week Two, despite the fact that they chose to start Kion Wilson as the Buck linebacker rather than him.

It was the same story the following week until the fourth game, when Williams finally came out with the starting defense, even though he had been playing the bulk of the snaps to begin with. In fact, it seemed that the more solid his position as the starter was, the less snaps he ended up playing.

Much of that had to do with personnel. The Steelers had more players in the secondary that they trusted than in the front seven, so as the season progressed, the quarters package essentially became their base, meaning that Williams spent a lot of time running on and off the field.

There were games that he started in which he played less than 10 snaps due to how extensively the Steelers used their sub-packages. I would imagine that the constant movement and inconstant playing time did affect his performance some.

Still, he played much of the season on an upward trajectory after some early struggles against the run, with the Minnesota Vikings and Oakland Raiders games signifying low points. His play against the run improved significantly over time, though the same can’t be said for his coverage ability.

By the end of the season, the Steelers were trying to get Williams off the field on passing downs by replacing him with Terence Garvin, a slimmer linebacker more suited to the task. Still, there’s plenty of time for Williams to improve in this area. It’s not something that he did much in college, so it would be expected for there to be some growing pains. There is potential in this young player, so I’ll be watching him closely this year.

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
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – G Ramon Foster
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – T Kelvin Beachum
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – RB Le’Veon Bell
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – C Fernando Velasco
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – FB Will Johnson
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – DE Brett Keisel
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – NT Steve McLendon
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – DE Cameron Heyward
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – OLB LaMarr Woodley
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – OLB Jason Worilds
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – ILB Lawrence Timmons

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About Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • steeltown

    Plenty of room for growth with this kid, he’ll only get better

  • James Kling

    So what’s this guy’s ceiling? Not sure he’ll ever be anything special.

  • dgh57

    Not for sure what this kids ceiling is but I see more upside than anything else. He’s next to impossible to block him in the run game as both Peko and Raji, 2 300+ pd. DTs will attest to that. He’s a smart kid when he showed back in the OTAs he was already calling plays. He lacks some pass coverage skills of which all that is needed to solve that is time and getting plenty of snaps to hone those skills as the smarts are already there.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Nice to see you feel he should be the starter to start the off season. I really like the guy and think he will begin to really excel. He was making some nice plays in the run game late in the season.

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