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Thread: Two Back Sets Anyone?

  1. #1
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    Two Back Sets Anyone?

    It's happening in practice and could be heading our way this coming season. Hello Rocky and Franco!

    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.

  2. #2
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    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

  3. #3
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    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.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Northern_Blitz View Post
    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.
    From the 2010-2019 season, (A 9 year period that the majority of Cowher's players & coaches had left) Mike Tomlin has only won 3 playoff games. And two of those wins were against back up Quarterbacks.


    Dolphin fans in the 90’s who wanted to hold on to Don Shula for what he did in the 70’s...

    Are the same as Steeler fans (of 2020 ) holding on to Tomlin for what he did in 2008.

  5. #5

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    It's a passing league now. Quit trying to live in the 70s

  6. #6
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    Seems like every summer people have this fantasy.

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

  7. #7

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    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).
    Steeler teams featuring stat-driven, me-first, fantasy-football-darling diva types such as Antonio Brown & Le'Veon Bell won no championships.

    Super Bowl winning Steeler teams were built around a dynamic, in-your-face defense plus blue-collar, hard-hitting, no-nonsense football players on offense such as Hines Ward & Jerome Bettis.

    We don't want Juju & Conner to replace what we lost in Brown & Bell.

    We are counting on Juju & Conner to return us to the glory we once had with Hines & The Bus.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher View Post
    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

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo View Post
    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.

  10. #10
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    I have doubts about Conner’s health. He runs one way. Hard!!!

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


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