Like Minkah Fitzpatrick, the Pittsburgh Steelers are right where we are: sitting at home being mad. Although they managed to make the playoffs in 2023, they lost in the first round. It has now been seven years without a postseason victory, the longest drought in franchise history. The question is what to do next.
The first step is always taking stock of what happened and what is left. That’s part of the exit meeting process, in which coaches meet with each player. They discuss the season and their expectations moving forward—and potentially their role within it.
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 2023 season.
Player: Minkah Fitzpatrick
Experience: 7 Years
Minkah Fitzpatrick had the worst season of his professional career in 2023. There is no debating that point, regardless of those who might try to argue otherwise. I can’t come up with a good reason that anybody would argue that, though.
His big problem in 2023 was simply his body. Given everything that happened, it’s almost hard to believe that he actually managed to play in 10 games. He only saw action in small parts of some of those contests, however. And he still contributed from the sidelines.
He suffered his first injury against the Jacksonville Jaguars, pulling his hamstring early in the game. The Steelers did not place him on the Reserve/Injured List, but he missed four games anyway. In his first game back, he proceeded to injure his hand, but he played through it.
Finally, he collided with CB Patrick Peterson against the Indianapolis Colts in the middle of December. Peterson landed on his knee, and as a result, he missed the final three games of the regular season. While he returned to play against the Buffalo Bills in the Wild Card Round, he didn’t save the day.
There are two things particularly notable about his 2023 season, statistically. One is his zero interceptions, a first in his career. He had never had fewer than two in a season before. Another is his tackling. If you include the playoffs, he recorded 74 tackles in 11 games across 617 snaps. Had he stayed healthy, he should have easily eclipsed 100-plus tackles again.
A lot went wrong for Fitzpatrick and the Steelers this past year, including how they used him. They stuck him in the box more, as they had in 2021, the only other candidate for his worst season. Still, there’s no compelling reason to believe he won’t return to form and stay healthier in 2024. His track record is otherwise clean.