Steelers ready to go with James Conner as No. 1 RB amid Le’Veon Bell’s absence
The start of the regular season is just around the corner. This has put the center of attention for the Pittsburgh Steelers directly on Le’Veon Bell’s continued holdout.
With that being the case, head coach Mike Tomlin has voiced that the franchise is ready to move forward with second-year running back James Conner as the starter for Week 1 against the Cleveland Browns if Bell doesn’t return this week, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.
“[He’s gone from] being a rookie that missed a lot of time due to soft tissue injuries and lack of general readiness, to a guy that’s done the things that we’ve outlined several minutes in here,” Tomlin said.
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Conner has stepped up in Bell’s absence in the preseason. He’s put together some solid showings in the limited action that he had. He rushed for 100 yards on 19 carries including a touchdown. He had shown some promising potential with some solid runs. In particular, his 57 rushing yards on five carries with a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers.
This has created a strong sense of confidence from the Steelers that Conner can carry the workload in the backfield if asked to do so to begin the year or however long Bell is to remain out of the mix. Pittsburgh would ideally like to turn to the 26-year-old to be the workhorse tailback, but there doesn’t appear to be a set timetable for his return.
Regardless of what transpires over the next few days, the Steelers appear to be more than confident with their game plan in the backfield.