Mike Tomlin’s choice to have a workhorse runner within the Pittsburgh Steelers backfield was examined final yr due to accidents to starter James Conner.
As he prepares for his 14th season as coach, Tomlin seems like he’s prepared to stay along with his tried-and-true method — with Conner once more main the way in which.
Tomlin addressed the operating again state of affairs Thursday throughout a 15-minute convention name with members of the Steelers Nation Unite Huddle fan group.
“I’m a featured-runner sort man by mentality,” Tomlin stated when requested about his plans at operating again for the 2020 season. “I believe that when you have got a featured runner, it provides him the chance to drop a stake within the floor and permits others to rally round him, and it provides him a set of core base run performs that he makes a speciality of, and also you discover a rhythm that manner.”
That philosophy was carried out when Tomlin was employed in 2007 with Willie Parker serving because the Steelers featured again and spanned the tenures of Rashard Mendenhall and Le’Veon Bell. Conner moved into the position in 2018 when Bell sat out the season in a contract dispute, however he was restricted to 10 video games and 116 carries final yr due to shoulder and thigh accidents.
The Steelers return their 5 prime operating backs from final season, together with Conner, Benny Snell, Jaylen Samuels, Kerrith Whyte and Trey Edmunds. In addition they drafted Maryland speedster Anthony McFarland within the fourth spherical.
“No query in in the present day’s recreation, a featured runner must be supplemented and supplemented by guys who’re able to doing related issues in case he misses time and a few which might be able to doing various things and difficult defenses in numerous methods,” Tomlin stated.
“That’s the make-up of our group proper now.”
Snell subbed for Conner a number of instances final yr and completed second on the workforce with 426 yards on 108 makes an attempt. Samuels, used primarily as a receiver and in an occasional wildcat position, gained 175 yards, adopted by Whyte’s 122 and Edmunds’ 92.
Tomlin didn’t point out Samuels, Whyte or Edmunds when dissecting his operating backs. He described McFarland, who ran a 4.44 40-yard sprint on the NFL Mix, as having “cat quickness and is able to producing huge performs in open house.”
Tomlin added that new fullback Derek Watt might play a task within the backfield.
“We’re enthusiastic about what the group goes to do largely,” Tomlin stated. “Often when it’s going nicely, it’s as a result of you have got a lead canine out entrance, and that man is the featured runner.”
Conner, who rushed for 973 yards and made the Professional Bowl two years in the past, apparently would be the “lead canine” in 2020 with Snell ready within the wings.
“James is a featured man and confirmed runner when wholesome,” Tomlin stated. “We’re enthusiastic about him getting again to well being and displaying that in 2020. Benny Snell is a man that’s able to being a featured runner who performs with a bodily fashion in an identical method to James. He’s able to being a James-type of man if James is unavailable.”
Sports activities | Steelers/NFL
— to triblive.com