Some might say the Pittsburgh Steelers have a good problem on their hands. The team has plenty of problems, but one which might be construed as positive is the fact it looks like the Steelers have the potential to have two very capable running backs, sort of.
After the break out performance James Conner had against the Atlanta Falcons, you have to ask the question whether the Pittsburgh offense really needs Le’Veon Bell, who continues his holdout into Week 6.
Before you immediately click away from this article and claim blasphemy, understand the true question.
Does the Steelers’ offense need Bell to succeed?
There will be many who point to basic statistics to verify the fact the Steelers would be much better with Bell, than without, but one aspect of the debate which needs to be discussed is whether or not the team actually committed to the run when deciphering Conner’s worth.
Of the 5 games played so far this year, only two of those games saw Conner receive more than 20 carries in a game.
Week 1 vs. the Browns: 31 carries, 135 yards
Week 5 vs. the Falcons: 21 carries, 110 yards
It seems as if when the team commits to running the football, they are successful in doing so. When they get away from the run, as they did in the other weeks this season, his numbers have been very pedestrian, at best.
Conner has always been a capable runner, but the other facets of Bell’s game is where most found the difference between the two backs. Bell’s pass protection has always been considered one of the best in the league, and Conner has done a tremendous job in a small sample size in this regard as the starter.
Bell has been considered one of the best pass-catching running backs in the league, and Conner has flashed his hands on more than one occasion. For the season, Bell has 18 receptions for 164 yards. His current statistics through the air have him on pace to catch just under 60 passes on the season. Not a bad season in this department.
Ultimately, can the Steelers’ offense be successful without Bell? They have proven they can. Are they as dynamic with Conner and not Bell? This is likely where the debate lies, but Conner has his own unique dynamic style which makes the two backs different in their own regard.
After watching Conner’s body of work early this season, it is clear to me the offense would be just fine if Conner was the man for the duration of the 2018 regular season. With Conner, the Steelers are averaging 28.6 points per game this season, and if the first 5 games of the season have proven anything it is how Conner is a capable running back, and the Steelers’ future at position seems in good hands with No. 30.
We talked about this at length in our most recent podcast, and you can find the podcast in the player above, as well as in the below links where you can subscribe to our BTSC podcast platform.
What do you think? Will the Steelers be okay without Le’Veon Bell? Let us know in the poll below, as well as in the comment section!
Would the Steelers’ offense be fine without Le’Veon Bell?
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