The Steelers have cycled through a number of running backs since Mike Tomlin became the head coach in 2007, but the identity of the back hasn’t done much to impact the way the team has used them.
While many other teams have employed committees to handle the backfield duties, the Steelers have subscribed to an approach that sees one back get the lion’s share of the carries. Willie Parker, Rashard Mendenhall and Le'Veon Bell have all had turns in that role and James Conner was in the same position last year, but things may be different in 2019.
During an interview with Mike Florio, Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert was asked if the team is moving in more of a committee direction with Conner, Jaylen Samuels and fourth-round pick Benny Snell. Colbert said that “each one of them will make the other ones better” and that the team wants to get the most out of all the backs unless someone makes it clear they should be the clear No. 1.
“I really think that depends on who that player is,” Colbert said. “When we drafted Le’Veon, we certainly didn’t have that idea that he would be the featured guy. He forced that with his great play and he was that good, he was durable and he wanted to be on the field. James does too, but you also have to understand if you have two or three guys that can maybe get the same production then let’s make sure we’re covered and have the proper depth.”
Colbert said he thinks Conner and Snell have similar styles while Samuels may offer the team more in the passing game. How they’ll deploy the three will be something to watch once Snell starts working with the team this month.