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2023 Steelers Exit Interviews: Mark Robinson and Blake Martinez

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 NFL season has come to a close. Because the Steelers are among the 31 teams who did not finish fulfilling their ultimate goal, they are in the process of wrapping up their season and moving forward into 2024.

Since the Steelers conduct exit interviews with all their players, and the fact I have done these articles in the past, we thought we would do the same here at Steel Curtain Network. By outlining two players each day, we will be able to look at their season in retrospect as well as looking toward the future. Since Coach Tomlin has previously stated he starts his interviews with rookies and those heading into free agency, we will attempt to do the same to some degree. To start, we will pair the most recent draftees with another player at the same position (if possible) as we work through this process to eventually cover the entire Steelers roster.

Next up are linebackers Mark Robinson and Blake Martinez.

Mark Robinson

Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Linebacker
Years with the Steelers: 2
Years in the NFL: 2
Contract Status: Signed through 2025
Contract Details: $1,013,089 salary cap hit for 2024. Would cost the Steelers $56,178 in dead money if released and save $956,911.
Games played in 2023: 17 regular season
Games started in 2023: 2 regular season
Snaps (regular season): 151 (defense), 302 (special teams)
PFF score: 51.1 (DNQ for ranking); 61.7 (special teams)
Notable stats: During the regular season, Robinson had 30 tackles, 1.0 sacks, and 1 forced fumble.

Notes: There is a fascination with Mark Robinson I’m on some of the Steelers fan base with him being a seventh-round draft pick who only played the position for one year before being drafted. While Robinson could be a great NFL story, his play on the field has not added to the fairy tale. Struggling specifically in pass coverage, Robinson ranks 158 out of 164 linebackers who were deemed to be in coverage for at least one snap according to PFF. If it weren’t for special teams, Robinson likely wouldn’t even have had a helmet on game days. As the Steelers look to make improvements at inside linebacker, having the quality of play they’re getting from Robinson anywhere on the depth chart shouldn’t be desirable. Either Robinson has to take a serious step forward next season or the Steelers need to have a better option as he got passed up by players coming off the couch last year.

Blake Martinez

Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Linebacker
Years with the Steelers: 1
Years in the NFL: 7
Contract Status: Free Agent
Contract Details: Contract expiring with no dead money
Games played in 2023: 1 regular season
Games started in 2023: 1 regular season
Snaps (regular season): 21 (defense), 5 (special teams)
PFF score: 85.1 (DNQ for ranking)
Notable stats: During the regular season, Martinez had four tackles.

Notes: How things played out with Blake Martinez and the Steelers this past season are quite curious. Although it took him a while to get up to speed, Martinez appeared in one game against the Patriots where he started the game. Martinez played well according to most people, but the Steelers chose to go in a different direction the rest of the season and have Martinez inactive. While there was one game where Martinez got a helmet due to other injuries in Week 17, he did not see the field. Perhaps it was communication or lack of special teams, but Martinez was ranked 10th by PFF of all linebackers if ignoring snap requirements. With the Steelers looking to do other things at inside linebacker, and the fact Martinez was not in their plans down the stretch, it would be quite surprising to see him signed back for 2024.

Make sure you check back each day for another set of exit interviews. If you have missed any of the previous articles, they are listed here:

Broderick Jones & Chuks Okorafor
Joey Porter Jr. & Levi Wallace
Keeanu Benton & Montravius Adams
Darnell Washington & Rodney Williams
Nick Herbig & Markus Golden
Cory Trice Jr. & James Pierre
Spencer Anderson & Dylan Cook
Kenny Pickett & Mason Rudolph
George Pickens & Miles Boykin
DeMarvin Leal & Armon Watts
Calvin Austin III & Allen Robinson
Connor Heyward & Godwin Igwebuike


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