How Will The Steelers Balance Their Running Backs?

Creativity could be on display in the backfield this year

The Fan Morning Show
July 11, 2019 - 11:20 am
Jaylen Samuels

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

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PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan)- This is a development that not only piques the interest of us here in Pittsburgh, but has made some national headlines as well.

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With James Conner, Jaylen Samuels and rookie Benny Snell from Kentucky, what's the Steelers running game going to look like? Will it be a true "running back by committee" approach? Should it be? 

The guys knocked this around on The Fan Morning Show Thursday morning. 

The loss of Antonio Brown has done its part to spark these conversations as it will most likely take a team effort to replace his offensive production. 

Chris Mack says that it will take creativity more than anything. 

"When you lose a Brown, when you lose a Bell, if you can't find different ways to get the ball out on the edge in the hands of your playmakers, I don't care if it's JuJu, one of the other receivers, McDonald, Conner, Samuels, Snell, whoever. Get me a playmaker on the edge, get the ball in his hands, get the offensive line swinging out and going downhill and start picking up chunks of yardage 7, 8, 9 yards at a time." 

Colin Dunlap pushed the discussion forward by wondering out loud if the Steelers coaching staff will be able to handle the responsibility of balancing this new offensive attack. 

"What has to happen is that James Conner is the lead back of the three but I think there needs to be the flexibility to manage this by feel within a game, within a season. You need to micromanage this. If a guy rips off an eight run, then follows that with a 10 yard run and then has a four yard run and is running the football hard...don't change for change's sake." 

The guys also say that if handing James Conner the football 25-30 times per game gives the offense the most effecient productivity, they can't be afraid to do that. They also wonder if Conner has convinced the Steelers and their fans that he's an A1, workhorse, elite running back based on his 2018 season. 

They settled on a loose template of having James Conner being the 1st and 2nd down back, sprinkling Samuels in on 3rd downs and possibly having Snell enter the game in short yardage situations to fight for first downs or punch the ball in, and go from there.  

How do you see things playing out in the Steelers backfield this year?        

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