The Pittsburgh Steelers are a banged up group, and remain thin at several key positions coming off the bye week and preparing for the Miami Dolphins in Week 8. One of those positions which could be considered thin would be the running back position. James Conner remains the featured back, but after Conner is anything but certain.
Entering the 2019 season the Steelers like their depth at running back with Conner, Jaylen Samuels and rookie Benny Snell Jr. When Samuels’ knee required surgery after the Week 5 game against the Baltimore Ravens, the depth was tested.
The team promoted Trey Edmunds off the practice squad, and Benny Snell did more than enough in Week 6 vs. the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday Night Football to secure the victory. However, with the bye week now in the rear view mirror, when will Samuels return?
According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, and announced by Mike Tomlin during his weekly press conference Tuesday, Samuels is already back practicing in a limited capacity. But when will he make his return to the game field? According to Fowler, it could be sooner than later.
Steelers RB Jaylen Samuels, who's practicing in a partial capacity less than three weeks from knee surgery, is not setting a specific return date -- the only goal is feeling 100 percent, and he believes he's close, I'm told. If not this week, Week 9 a pretty good chance.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) October 23, 2019
The Steelers getting Samuels back for the last two games of their three game home stand would be a huge boost, and that isn’t an indictment of Snell and what he brings to the table. The truth of the matter is Samuels is a very well-rounded back who can run, block and catch passes out of the backfield making him a mismatch against most defenses.
If he were to make it back by Week 9, he would return to backup duties for the Week 9 game vs. the Indianapolis Colts, and the Week 10 contest vs. the Los Angeles Rams. All in the friendly confines of Heinz Field.
However, as Fowler reports, the goal is for Samuels to feel 100%, and while it looks good at the moment, there is no real timetable for Samuels to return to the field. But the sooner the better.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Dolphins on Monday Night Football in Week 8.