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What should the Steelers do with Jaylen Samuels when James Conner returns?

James Conner is getting closer to returning, but what should the Steelers do with Jaylen Samuels when Conner is healthy?

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Oakland Raiders Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, following the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Week 15 win over the New England Patriots, I posed an article asking fans what they think the team should do with kicker Chris Boswell after another missed field goal on Sunday.

The article created some great discussion, so I decided to write another one, this time with a different topic.

What should the Steelers do with Jaylen Samuels when James Conner is healthy and back in the lineup?

No, this isn’t similar to Boswell’s situation because no one is suggesting the Steelers get rid of Samuels. I am asking more regarding the bigger picture of how should the team handle the distribution of carries whenever Conner returns.

Before Week 15, this was a no-brainer. Samuels had proven capable, on occasion, but hadn’t sown anything near the explosion seen by the Heinz Field crowd vs. New England. After accumulating nearly 200 yards of offense, Samuels has officially put his bid in to see more reps — even when Conner returns to the field.

If Conner isn’t 100% healthy yet, this is an easy decision, but for the sake of argument let’s assume Conner is ready to tote the rock the way he was before getting injured vs. the Chargers.

The Steelers’ options would be having a dual-back system where Samuels and Conner split drives to keep the other fresh. Or maybe they turn Samuels into a third down/receiver/special package type player. For those who think this would be the smartest course of action, you would be cutting into Samuels’ touches significantly.

This is a good problem to have. When you have two capable backs on the roster, it isn’t something negative, but a difficult decision when talking about the division of labor. So, with that said, how would you deploy these two backs if/when James Conner returns to the lineup?

Let us know by voting in the poll below, and of course by explaining your vote in the comment section below!


What should the Steelers do with Jaylen Samuels when James Conner returns?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    Conner resumes his usual role
    (499 votes)
  • 18%
    Samuels becomes a third down type back
    (569 votes)
  • 60%
    Split the role...both deserve touches
    (1849 votes)
  • 4%
    Other (Explain in the comments)
    (132 votes)
3049 votes total Vote Now