Photo credit: Julio Aguilar / Getty Images Sport
Author: Jon Kuzma
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Le’Veon Bell might not have played in 2018 but it’s still the first year that he’s no longer a Pittsburgh Steeler. The team is trying to move on without Bell and we know most of the responsibility will fall on James Conner’s shoulders. Conner was very good last season with 973 yards and 12 touchdowns.
He’ll certainly be the lead back with Bell gone and this offense needs him to pick up right where he left off. By pounding the rock the Steelers can chew up the clock and wear down defenses with their physicality. It’s not just Conner who can run all over teams either. Jaylen Samuels has also shown a lot of promise by combining for 455 yards and 3 touchdowns in only 3 career starts. Samuels does his best work as a receiver coming out of the backfield and he adds a dual-threat element to Pittsburgh’s attack. Those two ball carriers are guys that the team is familiar with and then’s there’s the rookie Benny Snell. Believe it or not Snell might be the most physical out of the three. The former Kentucky Wildcat is so good after contact and the first would be tackler rarely brings him down. It’s very possible that Snell leapfrogs Samuels and takes most of his playing time. James Conner has to look out as well because Snell doesn’t go down easily and those are runs that will inspire the team. Ultimately Mike Tomlin will go with the hot hand and whoever he believes will give his ball club the best chance of winning. It’ll be exciting to see how everything shakes out but it’s Conner’s job to lose. At some point that could change because there’s serious competition between these three. You know what they say though competition brings out the best in everybody.
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The Steelers are in good shape at the running back position.