Najee Harris won’t be benched (yet), but Jaylen Warren will get more touches

Pittsburgh Steelers v Philadelphia Eagles
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As the Steelers emerge from their bye at 2-6, there’s one and only one motivation. Win.

To make that happen, the coaching staff will be willing to shake things up.

And while it’s our understanding that this doesn’t mean running back Najee Harris will be benched (yet), Jaylen Warren will get more touches moving forward, per a source with knowledge of the team’s plans.

That meshes with comments made earlier today by coach Mike Tomlin. Harris, a 2021 first-rounder who was solid as a rookie, has been criticized for excessive dancing and hesitating. Undrafted out of Oklahoma State in 2022, Warren gradually has gained more and more admirers by running hard.

It’s part of a broader effort by the coaching staff to make changes aimed at winning more games. The Steelers need to win seven of the final nine games of the season in order to avoid Tomlin’s first losing record of his 16-year career as the team’s head coach.

For the season, Harris has 108 carries for 361 yards, good for an average of 3.3 yards per carry. Warren has 29 carries for 153 yards, an average of 5.3 per attempt.

Obviously, the running back position isn’t the only problem. But Harris, a presumed breakout player this season, could be getting less work and, eventually, could be sliding behind Warren on the depth chart.

27 responses to “Najee Harris won’t be benched (yet), but Jaylen Warren will get more touches

  1. he is clearly not the issue, OL is super inconsistent and playcalling is painfully obvious to defenders that can easily stuff the run.

  2. Ehhh that’s a shame. Najee Harris just seems like an awesome, good dude. I want him to succeed

  3. Just be patient. They’re breaking in a new QB. Once things get going, the running game will loosen up. Harris is going to be fine. The defenses key on Harris, so his stats don’t look good. Stats are fun to play around with, but they don’t help solve problems. Warren has 29 carries for 153 yards. That’s a small sample. His next 29 carries he might only get 53 yards. Who knows? Maybe he’s the next Franco Harris. I’ll guess we’ll find out. I hope he is. But I’m not getting excited about 29 carries. Whatever problems the Steelers are experiencing will pass. They just lost a HOF QB who’s been around for more than 15 years. Look at New Orleans. Look at New England. When these all-time great QB’s leave you, you feel it. People took Roethlisberger for granted. He was one of the best all time.

  4. The Steelers broke the rule…..the rule that you don’t spend a high draft pick on a running back. Buffalo drafted James Cook and he’s 3rd string with not a lot of production. The Patriots did this with Sony Michel. Very few RB’s get drafted high and turn into dominant multi-year RB’s. Injuries and difficulty adapting to the NFL game make drafting RB’s high a crapshoot.

  5. Harris hasn’t looked good, but a lot of that extra efficiency for Warren comes in garbage time. I don’t think anybody will run well behind that O-line.

  6. Najee Harris is also a solid blocker and above average pass catcher. Not his fault the o-line sucks.

  7. Never really liked the One-back offense. When the Steelers where a power-run team they always had a blocking-back leading the way. Do you think Franco Harris or Jerome Bettis could’ve picked up all those yards without one?

  8. “The Steelers need to win seven of the final nine games of the season in order to avoid Tomlin’s first losing record of his 16-year career as the team’s head coach.”

    That should motivate the troops!

  9. Steelers better get used to the view from the bottom. That team is a mess. Aside from a coach with a lifelong irrevocable contract what else do they have? Well, beside a guaranteed last place finish in the division for the next decade..l

  10. The Steelers have talked about giving Warren more touches in place of Harris multiple times already this season but have yet to follow thru a single time, doubt this time is any different 🤷‍♂️

  11. Pre-draft reports cautioned that the only running back in the NFL 6’2″ plus that was really successful was Derrick Henry. Perhaps there’s some truth to that as Harris runs too tall, his hesitation and propensity for dancing behind the line to boot.

  12. Maker is not the same guy we saw coming out of Alabama during his college years. Transitioning into the NFL makes a big difference.

  13. Would love for you to shop him off somewhere else. That line sucks and so does the QB play. Others could use a 3 down back

  14. For years, Pittsburg has had “patient” successful runners. It was a function of their o-line play. The holes did not open instantly, but they would open. With the O line being weaker, the holes are not opening.

    The O line isn’t as effective. What is the result? The offense stinks. A quick hitting back will get the 1 to 3 yards consistently and will rarely break one. It means your running game is effective, but not explosive.

    You build from the O line outwards. Your QB and your backs will look better with a great o line.

  15. As a Steelers fan, Tomlin’s “no losing season” bit is of little import to me. With Pickett in there I do want them to remain competitive and keep playing like the games are meaningful. Pickett would not be helped by any kind of tanking talk. A high draft pick is great, but Pickett going into next season ready to compete is more important. If that means a 7-10 season, fine.

  16. Looking more and more like the Steelers should have drafted Travis Etienne instead of Harris.

  17. There is still time to make a push for the playoffs, but we will have our work cut out for us. Getting TJ Watt back will be a big boost. Pickett keeps improving every week, and George Pickens is also showing some flashes. It’s a shame we got robbed of a couple wins due to some badly blown calls, but we should still be able to recover. Don’t forget that Tomlin has never had a losing record, and we won the Super bowl as a wild card team before.

  18. Warren is the better runner. He’s much better at identifying and capitalizing on gaps and running lanes.

    Najee just lacks any explosiveness…unfortunately see some shades of Trent Richardson with him.

  19. jobotjones says:
    November 8, 2022 at 9:32 pm
    he is clearly not the issue, OL is super inconsistent and playcalling is painfully obvious to defenders that can easily stuff the run.
    —————————————————————-
    Does the OL and play calling suddenly change that has enabled Warren to average more yards per carry?

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