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Jooser
05-29-2019, 10:48 AM
It's happening in practice and could be heading our way this coming season. Hello Rocky and Franco! :tt2

https://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2019/5/29/18642947/forget-running-back-by-committee-could-the-steelers-run-two-back-offensive-sets-james-conner-samuels



Forget running back by committee, could the Steelers run two back offensive sets?

The Pittsburgh Steelers have been a feature back team for years now, but could that all be changing in 2019?
By Jeff.Hartman @BnGBlitz May 29, 2019, 10:35am EDT

The Pittsburgh Steelers love their running backs. They always have, dating back to Franco Harris and Jerome Bettis, and always will. But throughout almost all of those eras, there has always been a feature back. There were obviously others on the roster, but there was the running back, and then other backs.

But could the Steelers in 2019 not just go with a more running back by committee approach, but also run some two back sets? This would jog the memory of the older Steelers fans who used to watch Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier dice up defenses while standing near each other behind Terry Bradshaw.

Fans have been clamoring for this to go into practice for years, and according to Sarah K. Spencer of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the team is at least looking at doing just that with James Conner and Jaylen Samuels.

“We did a little bit of it [last season], but we didn’t really run it in a game, so I guess this year we’re going to try and put that a little more in the offense,” Samuels said, via Spencer. “I think that could be kind of special with me and [Conner] in the backfield. Me and him in the game, period. We’re just building on from that right now. . . . He’s more of a runner and a catcher, as well, but I can get outside and run routes, as well. To have that dual threat with me and him in the game, it could be really scary for defenses.”

This is an approach which could do more than just frustrate defenses, but also help keep Conner fresh and healthy for the duration of a 16-game season, something he has yet to do in his NFL career. Either way, Conner is expecting the team to do more than practice this two-back set in 2019.

“It’s something we’ve had in for a little while, but I think we’re going to use it a little more this year, and I’m excited about it because we’re both really talented,” Conner said. “So it kind of puts the defense in a mix of who they really want to pay attention to because he’s shown what he can do.”

The wild card in this scenario is rookie fourth round pick Benny Snell Jr. Snell, the former Kentucky product, is coming off an amazing college career, and is hoping to bring “Benny Snell Football” to the city of Pittsburgh.

Snell’s downhill style is a perfect compliment to the type of runners both Conner and Samuels are at the current moment. When you add Snell into the mix, you have to wonder if the Steelers could have even more variables in this multi-back equation than just Conner and Samuels.

The Steelers may have just opened up Pandora’s box heading into the 2019 regular season, and although the team may never run these two back sets as fans want, it will at least give opposing defenses something to think about as they approach a game vs. the black-and-gold.

Northern_Blitz
05-29-2019, 12:58 PM
I feel like we've gotten this story in the preseason for the last few years.

Is be OK if it happens, but I'm not going to hold my breath

Iron City Inc.
05-29-2019, 01:04 PM
Why I'm selling 21 personnel for 2019. Simply speaking unless Nix is on the field our other backs are not best at blocking. So if you have 21 out there and neither blocks well your tipping your hand a bit n not playing to your strength.
What I do see for us is more rotation going on in the backfield keeping the main 3 fresh. That aspect could lead to stronger play later in the year when others are getting a bit worn down. Connor gets the lions share with about 20-22 combined touches per with Samuels n Snell getting about 6-8 touches each.
We lived in 11 personnel in '18 and we'll likely live there again this year. I do not see that changing much at all. You spread the D count the box n make your call.

Steel Maniac
05-29-2019, 01:20 PM
I feel like we've gotten this story in the preseason for the last few years.

Is be OK if it happens, but I'm not going to hold my breath

yeah..I don't put much stock into this either. Push comes to shove (and it always does in the NFL) you go back to what's comfortable to you. And with the possibility of more multiple(4) WR's sets, I don't see this.

Oviedo
05-29-2019, 01:25 PM
It's a passing league now. Quit trying to live in the 70s

Oh wow
05-29-2019, 01:55 PM
Seems like every summer people have this fantasy.

Unless we run the option I don’t see the benefits.

RuthlessBurgher
05-29-2019, 01:59 PM
Coming off a year in which Conner averaged 4.5 yards per carry with 12 rushing TD's, and also caught 55 passes for nearly 500 additional yards through the air, he has now shown that he be an equally dangerous for us in both the run and pass game. He can be a true bellcow back for us...when healthy, that is.

In order to keep him healthy for a full season, we can also utilize our RB depth to help reduce his overall workload to avoid "running the wheels off him" so to speak.

Conner could be an all-everything bellcow for us for a series or even two, but then we should give him a breather to keep him fresh and maintain some of that tread on his tires over a full season. When he comes off the field, we can utilize Benny Snell's strengths on early run down and in short-yardage/goal-line situations, and then use Jaylen Samuels' strengths on 3rd downs and other passing situations. You could rotate in the replacement RB's every third series or so as needed.

New England is a solid blueprint in this respect. Start out with our all-around bellcow type first (Sony Michel/James Conner), then bring in a fresh-legged rookie to replace him on some early downs (Damien Harris/Benny Snell), or a natural pass-catching RB in 3rd down and other long situations (James White/Jaylen Samuels).

Oviedo
05-29-2019, 02:42 PM
He can be a true bellcow back for us...when healthy, that is.

.


This is the concern with Conner. No one questions his talent, desire or character. I said during his rookie year he reminds me of Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala. Strong, quick runner but can't stay healthy.

Hopefully we come up with the formula to keep Conner on the field all season long

phillyesq
05-29-2019, 03:32 PM
It's a passing league now. Quit trying to live in the 70s

The league is also about creating mismatches. Maybe 2 backs gives you an opportunity to split somebody out and get man coverage with a linebacker.

In any event, it's the first session of OTAs. I enjoy reading about these experiments, regardless of whether or not they lead to anything.

Oh wow
05-29-2019, 03:38 PM
I have doubts about Conner’s health. He runs one way. Hard!!!

It really comes down to the luck of the football gods.

hawaiiansteel
05-29-2019, 04:42 PM
Versatile Jaylen Samuels to be used in increasingly varied ways in Steelers offense

CHRIS ADAMSKI | Wednesday, May 29, 2019

When he was a rookie last season, the Pittsburgh Steelers tried to keep Jaylen Samuels as entrenched as a traditional, fulltime running back as possible.

Now that he’s been a pro and as part of the offense for a full year, Samuels is ready to spread his wings as the proverbial Swiss Army knife he was projected to be.

Samuels said Wednesday that he’s been used in more varied ways over the first week and a half of organized team activities.

“I feel like there is more they are putting on my plate this year,” the former N.C. State tight end/fullback/receiver/running back said. “Now that they saw I could do last year, I am getting more routes split out, and more routes overall as a receiver.”

Samuels had 56 carries (for 256 yards) and 26 catches (for 199 yards) and three touchdowns last season as a rookie. His usage varied wildly from healthy scratch in some games to Swiss Army knife in others, to being the featured running back during the Week 15 win against the eventual Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

With James Conner and rookie Benny Snell also in the running back position room, Samuels versatility is what makes him stand out. Does he embrace carrying out diverse duties in the offense?

“I love it, I love it,” Samuels said. “The more I can do, the more I can help this team, and I love it.”


https://triblive.com/sports/versatile-jaylen-samuels-to-be-used-in-increasingly-varied-ways-in-steelers-offense/

flippy
05-29-2019, 05:52 PM
We have to remember the 2nd back is likely Samuels who is an HBack or a 2nd TE. It's not likely the Steelers are going to put Conner and Snell in the backfield together. It's Samuels that's the X factor in 2 back sets.

He's a better option imho than putting our #2 TE on the field.

But I also see a lot of 3 WR sets as our base offense.

Steel Maniac
05-29-2019, 08:04 PM
This is the concern with Conner. No one questions his talent, desire or character. I said during his rookie year he reminds me of Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala. Strong, quick runner but can't stay healthy.

Hopefully we come up with the formula to keep Conner on the field all season long

Our previous starting rb only finished one season healthy. So I’m going to give Conner the benefit of the doubt and think he will finish this season healthy now that he knows exactly what to expect and what is expected from him. If he gets significantly hurt then we can label him injury prone but I’m not ready to do that just yet.

Jooser
05-30-2019, 09:10 AM
The health of the feature back, whether we're talking Connor or Bell, is more indicative of Mike Tomlin's style of running the wheels off the back during the season. That's where using different backs to split the load (as Ruthless mentioned about NE*) will ultimately help keep Connor healthy into the post season. In which case, we can switch them up according to situation, or post a couple backs at a time. Either way, I'm fine with that, I just think we definitely need a shift in philosophy here in regards to player over-utilization.

RuthlessBurgher
05-30-2019, 10:20 AM
Our offense revolved so much around Bell and Brown the last few years.

We should not be so reliant on one specific RB and one specific WR.

Juju and Conner have shown that they are capable of handling this mantle if needed, but they should not be asked to do so.

Our overall depth at both RB and WR now means that we don't have to rely on any one guy all the time now.

Rotate guys, keep everyone fresh, and just find the open guy.

hawaiiansteel
05-30-2019, 10:54 AM
Jaylen Samuels Aiming To Prove New Level Of Conditioning During OTAs

By Alex Kozora
Posted on May 30, 2019

Jaylen Samuels, like many of the running backs before him, is looking to be a new version of himself entering Year Two. Over the offseason, he talked about slimming down and working with a speed trainer in order to become a more explosive and effective runner. Speaking with the media after Wednesday’s practice, he talked about – and I know it’s cliche but for young guys, often true – being in the best shape of his short NFL career.

“Just showing my conditioning,” he told the media via the team site of what he’s trying to show this spring. “That’s the main thing. Finishing runs. Making the tough catches. Knowing the plays. Playing faster. But most definitely, showing I am in condition. That’s the main thing coming into OTAs. Because we don’t have pads on or anything. We can finish downfield without getting hit.”

It’s unclear what Samuels current or target weight is at. But if he’s like so many others, a 15 pound decrease would place him in the 210-215 range. Coming out of NC State, it was unclear was position the NFL wanted him to play. He was a jack-of-all-trades in college, logging time at receiver, running back, and even a little at tight end. The Senior Bowl had him as a full-time running back but the Combine lumped him in with the tight ends while scouts liked what he did out of the backfield the most. Without a defined position, it was impossible to know what weight to shoot for.

Although you may have forgotten the name, Cameron Stingily, who spent two training camps with the team in 2015 and 2016, was in a similar predicament his first time through. From my interview with him three years ago:

“Coming out of the draft, it wasn’t clear if teams wanted him to play as a fullback or running back. So he kept his weight, 255 pounds. When the Steelers decided to make him exclusively a runner, his performance suffered. He lacked the quickness to break away at the second level. During last fall, he committed to slim down to his junior year playing weight of 230 pounds. By the looks of it, he’s a completely different player than the one who stepped foot onto St. Vincent’s campus a year ago.

“’Last year I was 250 with 12% body fat. This year I came back at 230 with 7%.’”

Stingily never made the roster but you get the principle of the idea. When you know how a team plans to use you, you can adjust accordingly.

“I think I’ll be a better runner this year as a running back,” Samuels went on to say. “Not just catching. And definitely better in pass protection.”

Losing weight means, in theory at least, Samuels will become a more dynamic runner in the open field. Last year, he was a bit of a plodder, only able to bust into the open grass when given a large runway. And though his pass protection was better than expected considering how little he did it in school, it has a long ways to go, too. There though, it has more to do with technique than any weight he’s lost.

Improving conditioning is important for the expanded role he’s going to have. Samuels will be the #2 from the get go unlike his rookie year, where he hardly saw the field until Week 13. In that sense, 2019 will be his first “full” year and with more involvement in the offense, his body has to be ready to handle that rigor.


https://steelersdepot.com/2019/05/jaylen-samuels-aiming-to-prove-new-level-of-conditioning-during-otas/

Steel Maniac
05-30-2019, 01:59 PM
With the weight drop , Samuels could surprise people. After listening to reporters covering the Steelers, I think Snell is strictly an insurance policy in case Conner gets hurt. It’s Conner and Samuels who’ll be toting the load.

Steel Maniac
05-30-2019, 02:01 PM
Remember how Bell dropped weight in the off-season after his first year? I see Samuels weight loss in that light.

Northern_Blitz
05-30-2019, 06:54 PM
Our offense revolved so much around Bell and Brown the last few years.

We should not be so reliant on one specific RB and one specific WR.

Juju and Conner have shown that they are capable of handling this mantle if needed, but they should not be asked to do so.

Our overall depth at both RB and WR now means that we don't have to rely on any one guy all the time now.

Rotate guys, keep everyone fresh, and just find the open guy.

That's interesting. I tend to think we don't have much depth at either WR or RB.

Conner was good last year, but has struggled to stay healthy. The league has also seen its fair share of 1 hit wonders. I think he'll be good, but he's not really a proven thing. Samuels is pretty much a big ? and Snell hasn't played a down in pre season.

At WR, Juju has proven to be an awesome WR2, but I think it's reasonable to think he'll need at least some time to feel comfortable at WR1. Moncrief has been an average guy which is OK but not great. We don't really have a WR3 (except maybe Moncrief who we'll play at 2), but a bunch of WR4s with hopes of improving.

Maybe that's OK because we have a very good QB. But I don't see how people aren't at least a little concerned about the O.

I like the idea that we'll be a better team because we'll have less drama. But it feels more like a hope than something we can support with evidence. Losing elite talent sucks.

I think ABs made it so we're unlikely to contend this year (baring dramatic improvement on D). Maybe we can use the cap space for not having AB next year to improve the D?

Steel Maniac
05-30-2019, 09:22 PM
The health of the feature back, whether we're talking Connor or Bell, is more indicative of Mike Tomlin's style of running the wheels off the back during the season. That's where using different backs to split the load (as Ruthless mentioned about NE*) will ultimately help keep Connor healthy into the post season. In which case, we can switch them up according to situation, or post a couple backs at a time. Either way, I'm fine with that, I just think we definitely need a shift in philosophy here in regards to player over-utilization.

Tomlin isn’t going to change from giving his #1 runningback the huge bulk of the carries. He’s not changing