In case you didn’t know, the Pittsburgh Steelers will return to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA in exactly 4 days of this article being published. With that, I decided to revive an old series we used to do as a lead up to training camp.
30 predictions in 30 days.
Myself and Simon Chester are alternating days giving a prediction for the upcoming season. Some will be team oriented, while others will be specific to individual players. Either way, read on to see the reason why we think today’s prediction will come to fruition, and why it might not come true. Give your thoughts in the comment section below the article.
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Prediction: James Conner will have 17 total touchdowns in 2019.
Why it will happen: The dynamic Pittsburgh Steelers running back had a surprising 13 total touchdowns in 2018. He rushed for 12 touchdowns and had 1 receiving touchdown in only 13 games last season, so the thought of him being able to add on just 4 more touchdowns, be it passing or receiving, doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility.
In fact, it sounds pretty realistic. The Steelers were a rushing team in the red-zone last year, and it showed in both their red-zone success rating, as well as Conner’s statistics. The Steelers have a tremendous offensive line, and one that was able to put Conner in position to hit pay dirt. If Randy Fichtner is a smart play caller, he will dial up No. 30’s number when it matters most, and this will increase his overall touchdown statistics.
The one area where I can foresee Conner improving is in the receiving game. He caught only one touchdown pass last season, and dropped a sure thing touchdown against the Jaguars, but if Conner can become more of a threat in the passing game he certainly will increase his overall touchdown numbers.
Why it won’t happen: I absolutely think Conner is possible of reaching 17 total touchdowns in 2019, but to do that he has to stay healthy. And this is something Conner has struggled with since entering the NFL. Even in his rookie season, where he was nothing more than a stop gap if Le’Veon Bell needed a break, he was unable to suit up for all 16 games. Last season a high ankle sprain vs. the Chargers left him with just 13 games to his name.
If Conner can stay healthy, he could reach 17 touchdowns, but that is a gigantic ‘if’.
Last season Todd Gurley led the NFL with 21 touchdowns, while Conner’s 13 had him tied for 9th. 17 touchdowns last season would have been third only behind Gurley and Alvin Kamara. If the Steelers use a running back by committee approach, utilizing Jaylen Samuels and Benny Snell Jr. to their strengths, it could hinder Conner from reaching this goal in 2019.
What are your thoughts on this prediction? Do you think it will happen? Or are we crazy? Let us know by voting in the poll, and letting your voice be heard in the comment section below!
Will James Conner register 17 total touchdowns in 2019?
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