Steelers: 5 players who must improve
The Steelers saw last year that Conner could carry the load when Le’Veon Bell inevitably left in free agency. In 2018 he averaged 4.5 yards per carry with 973 yards on 215 carries with 12 touchdowns. He also added 497 receiving yards and a touchdown on 55 receptions.
Fast forward to 2019 and Conner is simply a shell of his 2018 self. Through three games of 2019, he is averaging just 2.9 yards per carry with 34 carries and only 97 yards and has just 11 receptions for 70 yards.
To compare to 2018’s weeks one through three, Conner by week four had 54 carries for 213 yards and three touchdowns while catching 15 passes for 139 yards. That’s a stark difference from last year and averaging a full yard less per carry.
The blame can’t all be placed on James Conner, however. The offensive line has struggled in run blocking, and it hasn’t done Conner any favors.
His ball security is being brought into question after the loss to San Francisco and rightfully so. However, that loss can’t be solely placed on his fumble when the offense got just six points off four first half turnovers.
Conner has the skill and talent to be a top end back in the NFL, and he proved as much in 2018. If the Steelers have any shot at being a respectable opponent in 2019, Conner’s play will have to pick it up a few notches.