Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said this offseason that the team hopes to have James Conner back in the “lead dog” role that Tomlin prefers the team to have on offense after injuries kept him from playing a full season last year.
Conner said he’s “healthy right now,” but hasn’t set any goals when it comes to how often he’ll be carrying the ball come the fall. Conner said on Tuesday that winning is his goal and that the team needs to establish the running game whether he, Benny Snell, Jaylen Samuels or someone else is carrying the ball.
“It’s our job to be at our best no matter how many carries,” Conner said, via Ed Bouchette of TheAthletic.com. “We got to start fast, we have to hit first as a back. That’s what I’m going to take pride in this year, just to start fast, whether I’m the guy, however this year works. I said the goal is to win. We need to be ready at all times. Can’t warm up to it. That’s our slogan, that’s what we’ve been saying: ‘Can’t warm up to it.’ I’m not really paying attention to how many carries I need, I don’t really believe in that.”
Conner is heading into the final year of his rookie deal and said recently that it would be difficult to leave the Steelers. His usage in 2020 could provide some sense of the likelihood that he’ll be back in 2021.