The Pittsburgh Steelers find that their 2017 season ended a bit prematurely, and are undergoing the exit meeting process a couple weeks sooner than they would have liked. Nevertheless, 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: Le’Veon Bell
Position: Running Back
Experience: 5 Years
Well…this is going to be an interesting session. Le’Veon Bell is undoubtedly one of the most talented players on the team, perhaps even the most talented. And the Steelers last season already made it apparent that they are willing to pay him accordingly, yet he wants to be paid at a level beyond ‘the best at his position’, at least based on what his position is currently getting.
That whole situation ultimately led to him keeping his distance from the team throughout the offseason, and through training camp and the preseason, right up pretty much to the start of the regular season. At one point, even he acknowledged that his early, sluggish start to the season may have been influenced by his time away.
Luckily for himself and the team, his productivity and efficiency did pick up as the season progressed, and the certainly had some big games over the course of the year. Over a four-game span from Week Four to Week Seven, he rushed for over 130 yards three times. On 117 attempts, he totaled 504 yards at 4.3 yards per carry with three scores.
It is underestimated how much more efficient he was running at the end of the season, however, as many focus on the fact that he only averaged four yards per rush on the year. Over the span of his final five games, he rushed for over 400 yards while averaging 4.6 yards per rush (rounded up), but he also caught 36 passes for 347 yards at nearly 10 yards per reception. That’s 752 yards of offense on 125 touches. And he had six touchdowns in that span as well.
Then in the playoff game against the Jaguars, he wasn’t used much on the ground, but he still managed 67 rushing yards on 16 carries. Where he really made a difference was through the air, where he had nine receptions for 88 yards and one incredible touchdown reception over Telvin Smith.
Bell showed in that game just the sort of talent that he is, and I think his early-season performance also shows the importance of getting him into a normal offseason, if he is to be brought back.