The Pittsburgh Steelers find that their 2016 season ended a bit prematurely, and are undergoing the exit meeting process a couple weeks sooner than they would have liked. Never the less, what must be done must be done, and we are now at the time of the year where we close the book on one season and look ahead to the next.
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 2016 season.
Player: Ramon Foster
Position: Left Guard
Experience: 8 Years
The only knock against Ramon Foster, in my book, is that he is starting to get up there in age. He recently turned 31 just under a month ago, and it’s not every lineman that is able to retain a certain level of play well into their mid-30s.
But the truth is that Foster, a former undrafted free agent in 2009, hasn’t really shown any signs of regression. In fact, 2016 was one of his best seasons, and you can probably bet that that had something to do with a greater level of comfort with the men he is playing in between.
Having Maurkice Pouncey at center all year long certainly made a big difference between this past season and last. Alejandro Villanueva at left tackle was a first-year player who needed to be babysat in 2015 and struggled to pick up stunts. Foster had a lot fewer responsibilities this year.
Even Pro Football Focus had him ranked as one of the top five guards in the league for 2016 I believe, or close to it. While he doesn’t do any one thing exceptionally well, he does everything proficiently, and I would say that this past year was probably the best I’ve seen him as a run blocker.
He is the least mobile of their starting offensive linemen, but that is really saying something when you consider that they are comfortable pulling all four other starters liberally. Foster does pull from time to time and does it reasonably well, even if many still feel the need to criticize him for his athletic level.
Foster is just the sort of starter that good teams need to have. He doesn’t break the bank, and yet he does an excellent job, even if it’s not flashy and he doesn’t become a household name. He may be their most consistent lineman from play to play, and that is tremendously valuable.
But his value extends beyond the football field. He is also the Steelers’ player rep for the NFLPA and takes that position very seriously. He is a great interview in the locker room and is generally an insightful and thoughtful person. And he also shares a birthday with me, so he’s got that going for him.