The Pittsburgh Steelers offense has been struggling in every possible way throughout the 2022 regular season. It’s been so bad, the fan base has continued to clamor for change. What change? Any change.
The excitement of Kenny Pickett taking over for an ineffective Mitch Trubisky has since died down, and now the fans are wondering if there is another change on the roster which could possibly make a difference.
The change I’m referring to is a potentially increased role for undrafted rookie free agent running back Jaylen Warren. At this juncture of the season, benching Najee Harris doesn’t seem to be the move everyone wants to see, but giving Warren more touches to see if the change of pace could benefit the offense is something not just on fans’ minds.
It’s on Mike Tomlin’s radar too.
During Tomlin’s weekly press conference Tuesday he spoke about how although many fans are believing Harris is hampered by injury, and if it could equate to an increase role for Warren?
“To what degree, I don’t know.” Tomlin said of Harris potentially playing injured. “He’s playing, so obviously he’s healthy enough to play. I’ll let him speak to that, but both guys have been available to us.
“We’ve gotten some awesome contributions from Jaylen, and it’s reasonable to expect that to continue. Like I mentioned when we were talking about a division of labor and who’s done what and who’s done what well, I know that was a topic of discussion and very evident in our tape review.”
Not the resounding vote of confidence for the team’s 2021 first round draft pick who has struggled in every possible way this season. On top of Harris’ injured foot suffered in training camp, the two backs couldn’t be more different. Warren is a back who is decisive with the football in his hands, while Harris has been trying to take the more patient approach in his sophomore year — an approach which hasn’t panned out.
Could Warren take on a feature back role?
“He’s a quality back that’s made some plays. We’ll keep giving him an opportunity to do so, and maybe he’ll write that script.” said Tomlin.
Throughout the early portions of the season, many will look at the overall statistics and see how Warren has done more with the limited repetitions he’s been given in the offense. Some of these numbers might be a bit inflated considering when Warren played in blow out losses to the Buffalo Bills and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Nonetheless, for the fans who are looking for a change at the running back position, you might be getting your wish. What will this potential change look like? It might be more of a 50-50 split between Harris and Warren, but even with that split in carries it would equate in a larger role for the rookie running back.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the New Orleans Saints this Sunday in Week 10 at Acrisure Stadium.