Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – S Troy Polamalu

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: Troy Polamalu

Position: Safety

Experience: 11 Years

Troy Polamalu has made the Pro Bowl every year since entering the starting lineup during which he didn’t wade through significant injuries—in 2009 and 2012—and that includes 2013, this past season.

While he had only two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), he made up for it with five forced fumbles, the most in his career by two. That included one game during which he forced three fumbles alone. He had eight forced fumbles combined during his first decade in the league.

No doubt, Polamalu’s play-making ability has always been the cornerstone of what makes him such a special player, and an eventual Hall of Famer, but it was especially important to his overall success this year, during which he went through stretches of coverage lapses resulting in uncharacteristic big plays.

This was exacerbated by the changes in defensive scheme after the Steelers began frequently utilizing the quarters package. As a result, Polamalu found himself playing inside linebacker frequently, at the second level of the defense rather than the third.

It may seem like a small distinction, but it can certainly have an impact on a player, especially one accustomed to being back in the defense. It changes visual keys. It’s a completely different perspective of the offense: a narrower perspective.

I don’t have specific statistics as to how he performed in coverage from a deep set and at the second level, but I expect at the very least that the shifting from one level to another had some type of impact on his performance. In general, he seems to be at a point in his career during which he has an easier time coming forward rather than working backward.

Still, Polamalu has always had a strong presence near the line of scrimmage, particularly when it comes to playing the run. Unfortunately, he is better coming off the edge than going up the middle in my estimation, so I hope that the quarters package that involves Polamalu at linebacker is used less frequently going forward.

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
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – ILB Vince Williams
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – CB Ike Taylor
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – CB William Gay

About the Author

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

    Polamalu is a special talent, but he is NOT built to play ILB and we’re lucky he didn’t get seriously injured this past season. Hell even Spence who is vastly undersized for a LB is still 230lbs. Please let Polamalu play his natural position

  • Steve

    Read this today and found it interesting: By putting a player like Polamalu on the
    trading block, nearly every team would be interested. However who would pay the
    price to get him? That would be a little harder to figure out. Certainly any
    team who needs defensive help, even playoff teams might consider him if it would
    mean getting further into the playoffs next year. More important what do the
    Steelers command for him? While it would be unlikely the Steelers could match
    the deal Jimmy Johnson got for Hershel Walker, yet it would still be a sweet
    deal. Their best bet would be to take all draft picks for him. By doing this
    they could expand their 2014 draft options, and perhaps 2015 and 2016 as well.
    It would also get them through what may be a rebuilding season anyway.
    What do you think?

  • mlc43

    I don’t think he would command the attention you think he would. I would suspect that he is only going to play for a couple more years so I don’t see a team giving up much for him. Although he has been exposed in coverage the last few seasons I still think we would be better off keeping him around… at least for this year.

  • RedCarpetDefense

    The fan in me screams blasphemy. From a business standpoint you do make good points about Polamalu being trade bait for more future picks. I will say this though Troy Polamalu’s don’t grow on trees and based on the recent years of draft picks by this team I don’t trust them to find immediate contributing impact players. For the past decade Troy has been this team’s most impactful, productive and valuable player on either side of the ball. I don’t see how this team gets better NOW by letting him go.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    At his age and with the contract he currently has, he could not be traded.

  • Brendon Glad

    I’d like to see them converse with him in the same way they did Jerome Bettis, Hines Ward (the year before they released him)…and James Harrison. I think if approached with respect, it would be highly likely that he would be willing to lower his cap number either with a straight pay-cut…or with a 1-2 year extension that does the same. But 8.3 in salary and 2.7 in guaranteed is a large number for Troy at this point. Out of respect, I would not cut him even if he balked at either of my 2 suggestions. But my feeling on Troy P. from my distant chair, is that as long as the conversation is had with respect, as opposed to an attack on his value, then the conversation will go well. Even if he refuses. But to me, the Steelers would be completely fair to ask for a discount from Troy P…just politely, and without the “do it or ELSE” threat tagged on the end. No?

  • Brendon Glad

    In comparison, my conversations with Ike Taylor or Woodley would still be done respectfully…but it would have a slightly different tone…namely the “cut-threat” on the back end of the request. Because they just aren’t on the same level of Troy P….neither in prior contribution, current play, value, nor in depth behind them.

  • Brendon Glad

    I think Woodley has better trade value than Troy P. And I think both values are limited. Because Troy P. is a Steeler through and through. A guy who has repeatedly said that his true love for football wasn’t truly fashioned until he became part of Steeler Nation. So if you trade for Troy P…he’s probably retiring at the end of 2014. Or at least that should be the fear of any gm who would query about him…Wheras, if you trade for Woodley, you pay the money, but if you believe he can be healthy…you get him locked up for 3 years. I think Woodley would garner a late 3rd-6th round pick…or a player of similar situation (like say, a veteran CB who is being pressed by unexpected young backups)….for Polamalu, I think the ONLY way you garner any pick that’s not an insult, would be if the trading team was being allowed to work out an extension for him before the trade was made. I just don’t see that as even a remote scenario. But I could be wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time.

  • Ken

    I think he could have been a hall of fame traditional safely also, but his instincts at the line of scrimmage were just too tempting to not keep him close. . He is a special kind of player that doesn’t come around very often, I hope he ends his career as a Steeler.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Yes. Yes. And Yes. That’s what I have been talking about.

  • Steve

    If your talking trade bate, Big Ben has the most trade bate value. Many teams wouldn’t go for Woodley because he is hurt way too much for how much is paid. Ben played the whole year and it was one of his best years also. Yes the Steelers were 8-8 but mostly it was the Defense that was lacking this year.

  • Steve

    I would like to see Troy end his career with the Steelers. When it comes to some teams they will do anything to win. Look at the Aints selling the whole draft for Rickey Williams which was Ditka’s brain child and Da Cryboys getting the boat load for Hershal Walker which Jimmy Johnson did. Sometimes you need to look at what you can get for what you have. There are teams looking for that “Right” player to make the Super Bowl or reload the draft picks for their team. Steelers were able to do that in the early 70’s and keep these players without free agency via the Draft. They had good scouts back then and we need some help in that respect again.

  • Steve

    Why Not, Does he have a “No Trade Clause” in his contract? If not they sure can.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    No one wants a safety at $8M for 1 year who has only 1 healthy season out of the last several. They could not give him away with that contract, let alone get anything back. In the new cap era. Older players just are not getting that type of money unless they are QBs.