Forget Bell Comparisons, Here's The REAL Question With James Conner

The Steelers running back conversation has now shifted to this...

Matt Koll
November 05, 2018 - 11:10 am

Related: Bell Tweets Farewell to Miami Fueling Speculation Of Return To Steelers

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan)- After every Steelers game this season, at least some of the reaction talk has been centered around comparing running backs James Conner and Le'Veon Bell and trying to determine if the Steelers miss Bell, if Conner is better than Bell and how the carries should be split if/when Bell returns.

Forget all that. 

After yesterday's performance against the Ravens Sunday, The Fan Morning Show has a more relevant question: Can James Conner sustain the entire season being the feature back? Can he be over-used?

Colin Dunlap, Chris Mack and Jim Colony, like the Steelers players, are no longer concerned about Le'Veon Bell. There will be time to be concerned about him if and when he ever shows up.

What's more important now is James Conner's durability. He has 151 carries through the first eight games of the season, a whopping 141 more than the next running back in Stevan Ridley. In fact, Ben Roethlisberger is second on the team in carries right now with a mere 17. 

Conner runs with a tough, "downhill" style in which he absorbs contact, bounces off defenders and even delivers his own blows. But much like the conversations we've had in the past about Le'Veon Bell when he was getting 30+ touches per game...how much is too much? Can Conner be over-used and be too battered by the time the playoffs roll around?

We are beyond the Bell/Conner debate. The guys say Conner is a better fit for this Steelers offense right now than Le'Veon Bell. That part of the discussion is over for them. As Chris said today, Conner is not only a capable back but one of the best backs in the league right now.

 

It's now: How long can this last? Can Conner, essentially a rookie running back with just 32 carries last season, be just as effective in the playoffs as he is right now? 

 

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