The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the 2022 regular season, but before the real games begin, the team has to head to training camp back at Saint Vincent College in order to fine tune their skills. As we here at BTSC prepare you for the start of camp, we give you a series called “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” which gives you a Steelers scenario every day leading up to the start of camp.
It is simple how it works. We provide you the scenario, reasons why it will or won’t happen, and then our prediction for what we think will take place.
Let’s get to the scenario...
Scenario: Najee Harris will stay healthy for the entire season for the second year in a row.
Why it will happen: When it comes to players who take care of their bodies, Najee Harris would certainly rank near the top of that list. You hear it from Mike Tomlin, position coaches and teammates. They all laud Harris’ unbelievable willingness to take care of his body from everything to the way he trains, to what he puts into his body. Harris will need to keep his body in tip-top shape in 2022 based on his rookie workload.
On top of his physical conditioning, I think the Steelers will be more willing to spell Harris more this season. Whether it be with Benny Snell, Anthony McFarland, an undrafted rookie or a player to be named later. The Steelers understand the value of Harris, and keeping him healthy will be paramount.
Lastly, Harris will have to understand when it is smart to just go out of bounds, and when it is worth taking the punishment of staying in bounds and fighting for those extra yards.
Why it won’t happen: There are several factors which playing into Harris missing a game or two this season, and the fact Mike Tomlin likes to have a bell cow back would top the list. He wants backs who don’t have to come off the field. He didn’t take Le’Veon Bell off the field, nor did he want to take James Conner off the field. Harris fits the bill, and I don’t expect Tomlin to take Harris off the field, even if another running back is acquired at some point.
On top of running back usage, Harris’ running style is certainly one which seems to draw big hits at every turn. Last season the hit by Jamal Adams of the Seattle Seahawks comes to mind.
Playing running back in the NFL isn’t a “safe” position. You are going to take a beating, and when you combine Harris’ style to his usage it seems less likely he would be able to suit up for 17 games for a second year in a row.
Prediction: James Conner was a tremendous running back for the Steelers would couldn’t stay healthy. Le’Veon Bell was one of the most dynamic backs to ever wear the black and gold, but always seemed to get injured at the worst times. Is Najee Harris headed down this same path?
I don’t think he is, and I think the Steelers realize how valuable Harris is to the offense, and team. Whether the Steelers bring in another running back isn’t important right now. Why? Because I think the team is ready to use Snell and McFarland as necessary to take some hits off Harris. 17 games is a long time, but I think Harris is built to handle the abuse, and combined with the Steelers using other backs more it should equate to another healthy season for the former Alabama star.
Lastly, for those superstitious, I just knocked on wood...
Check out yesterday’s prediction in the link below:
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2022 regular season.