The Pittsburgh Steelers offense is a unit which needs all its top players at the ready for it to be successful. Some would look at the 23-point output in Week 1 vs. the Cincinnati Bengals as a reason to celebrate.
Anyone who watched the game would disagree.
The 23 points scored were buoyed by a Minkah Fitzpatrick pick-six, leaving the offense with just 16 points scored in the game. But it was Week 1, and the rust was evident not just with the Steelers, but around the league. The one thing you don’t want to have happen this early in the season are key injuries.
And the Steelers suffered two of those, one being T.J. Watt (pec) and Najee Harris (foot/ankle) being the other. As for the latter, Harris continues to speak into existence not just his desire to play this Sunday vs. the New England Patriots at Acrisure Stadium, but him being healthy and ready-to-go.
“It’s good,” said Harris.
“Football happened. Stuff happens,” said Harris. “I’m good.
“It’s part of the sport. It’s a little injury. I got hurt plenty of times. It’s good.”
For those who watched the win over the Bengals, you might have noticed Harris didn’t look 100% at times. He only rushed 10 times for 23 yards on the ground, and looked hesitant. But that isn’t to say there were gaping holes for Harris to navigate through either. Needless to say, even with the lack of production, Harris sees the offense, and the running game, improving.
“We’re improving every game,” said Harris. “We still have to work on some stuff, just even as a whole, besides the running game, we have to work on some stuff as an offense. We had a lot of opportunities because of the defense giving us the ball. We didn’t capitalize on some of them, most of them.
“We just have to make sure every time we get the ball from the defense, we have to at least put some points on the board. We have to get better at that. It’s the first game, we have a long road ahead of us.”
If Harris plays, but isn’t going to be available for his usual workload, the ball would most likely be given to Jaylen Warren, who surpassed Benn Snell Jr. on the team’s running back depth chart. Harris acknowledged Warren for his contributions Sunday in Cincinnati, even when he didn’t have the ball in his hands.
“He is a good player,” said Harris. “He is still learning. He made a lot of good blocks too. We just all have to get better.
“He is going to have to (step up). He has no choice. I am okay. He is going to be good. He helped me out a lot too to keep me off the field so I wouldn’t get extra hits. I think last year I played the most snaps in the NFL. Going into the second year, we can’t do that, especially for a running back. It’s too violent. You have to have somebody spell you, that’s good.”
The Steelers will hopefully not just have Harris at the ready Sunday at 1pm ET, but also have an improved running game. It won’t be easy, considering New England sports a very good defensive front who allowed just 2.8 yards per carry against the Miami Dolphins in their Week 1 loss. You may burn the Patriots’ defense, but it isn’t going to be easy doing it in the running game.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding Najee Harris’ injury status, and more, as the Steelers prepare for the Patriots this Sunday in Week 2.