“I’m a featured-runner type guy by mentality,” said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin when he met with fans via conference call on Thursday and addressed the running back situation in Pittsburgh. (Joe Rutter on Twitter)
There had been reports that Tomlin wanted to reduce Conner’s workload, but that contradicts what he told fans yesterday. He went on to explain why he likes a featured runner. “I think that when you have a featured runner, it gives him the opportunity to drop a stake in the ground and allows others to rally around him, and it gives him a set of core base run plays that he specializes in, and you find a rhythm that way.” He acknowledged that in today’s game, a featured runner like Conner needs to be supplemented by other runners. The Steelers have a bevy of backs, Benny Snell Jr., Jaylen Samuels, and newly drafted speedster Anthony McFarland Jr. Tomlin is hopeful Conner can get back to his 2018 ways when he rushed for 973 yards and 12 TDs, while also catching 55 balls for an additional 497 yards and a score. It sounds like he’ll be the featured guy in 2020, with Snell Jr. waiting in the wings should Conner get hurt. Conner is ranked #25 in FantasyPros consensus RB rankings, and Snell should be considered his primary handcuff, although don’t be surprised if McFarland Jr. is utilized as well.