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: Roosevelt Nix
Experience: 2 Years
It has been a number of years since the fullback position held a role that could be construed as anything resembling a starting job. Still, that doesn’t mean the responsibilities of Roosevelt Nix have gone unnoticed—in fact, it’s pretty clear that he’s a fan favorite, and this is one of those cases against which I find it hard to argue.
It’s become a bit of a pattern for me, but I have been holding on to the believe over the course of the past couple of fullbacks that their roles were going to see expansion in the offense. That did not happen for Nix this past season, but he also spent much of the first half of the year tending to a back injury that found him inactive for several games.
It was only gradually that he began to take more snaps, and he started to see a good number of snaps per game during the Steelers’ second-half winning streak as they relied more and more upon run-heavy personnel, including extra tight ends, another lineman, and, yes, even a fullback.
It was probably the highlight of his season when he got the opportunity to shoulder a heavy load up in Buffalo for Le’Veon Bell as the fourth-year running back set a Steelers record for the most rushing yards in a game in team history. Though he wasn’t much of a factor in the two games in which he broke the team’s playoff record for the most rushing yards in a game.
In spite of the fact that the running game had been working quite well, the Steelers turned away from the run-heavy sets at the end of the season and relied nearly exclusively on three-receiver sets. Obviously, it worked enough to get them to the AFC Championship game, so it’s hard to argue, I suppose.
It is of course important to remind that Nix’s contributions to the game reach beyond his limited role as a fullback. He is also a core special teams contributor—that is after all how he made the 53-man roster in 2015 in the first place. Despite only dressing for 10 games and being limited in some, he still registered seven tackles.