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Conner and Samuels – The Steelers Have Two Back Who Could Be Double Trouble in 2019

Two seasons ago the Steelers used (often) running back Le’Veon Bell not only as their main running back, but also as a guy who was on the field maybe a bit too often.

Bell was the leader in the NFL with 406 touches, and was the biggest piece in a Steelers offense that made it not only as the AFC North Champs but as the number two seed in the conference. He ended up with 1,946 yards from scrimmage and 11 total touchdowns, using you could see Bell was the most valuable back on the team.

Last season they were without him as he sat out the entire season, and not only did the team have to plug James Conner into the role as the team’s lead back, but also once Conner got injured in the December loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, the team was in a quandary.

Enter Jaylen Samuels, who struggled in the first game against the Raiders, but then not only had a big game in a win against the Patriots, but also had a solid backup role in the final two games of the season and looked like a back who might deserve more of a role in 2019.

The team could benefit from that in a big way, as using Conner 350 to 400 times is more prone not only to having him get hurt, but also for him to get worn down and eventually not be nearly as effective as he could be if given a breather here and there.

The two-back set with Conner and Samuels on the field at the same time was even discussed during mini-camp, and Samuels seemed to be all about it as it would give him time on the field with a chance to make an impact.

“I’m pretty sure it’s going to be something special put into the offense,” Samuels said of two-back sets. “They will have us start off in the backfield or I can start out wide or motion out.”

Conner and Samuels together could make things tough for other teams as well, and with a team not knowing who is going to get the ball makes the Steelers that much better.

Conner said he too seems excited about allowing room for Samuels, and also even for rookie Benny Snell who joined the team via the draft back in April.

“We have talent in that room. We have Jaylen Samuels, who’s a tremendous receiver, a talented runner,” Conner said.

“We have Benny Snell. We know the work that he did at Kentucky. He’s a hard-bodied runner, so all those guys will get touches. It’ll be fun this year just seeing those other guys being successful.”

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.

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