Could Benny Snell push James Conner for a starting job on the Steelers?
Steelers running back, Benny Snell, has impressed as of late. Should he be given a chance to unseat James Conner as the starting running back in Pittsburgh?
Steelers fans everywhere are riding the emotional high from an impressive Sunday night win on the west coast over the Los Angeles Chargers. Pittsburgh traveled across the country, and 3rd string quarterback, Devlin Hodges, helped lead them to victory.
Though it is hard to find a lot to complain about after an impressive road win, we know full well that there is always room for improvement on the team.
I know this isn’t going to be a popular topic with many fans, and I understand why. But should Benny Snell be given a chance to supplant James Conner as the starting running back in Pittsburgh?
Snell had a fantastic game last night. While Conner did a lot of damage through the air (catching 7 passes for 78 yards), he struggled to move the ball on the ground. The former Pro Bowl running back from 2018 garnered just 41 rushing yards on 16 carries (2.6 yards per attempt).
This isn’t something that has been unusual this year. Over his first six games, Conner has averaged 2.1, 3.0, 3.3, 4.2, 3.9, and 2.6 yards per carry, respectively, in each contest.
On the other hand, Benny Snell is churning out more yards per touch on the ground. Though his sample size is still pretty small (23 carries), Snell has done very well with his opportunities – averaging 4.6 yards per carry on the season.
Typically, this isn’t even a thought I would normally entertain. However, Snell outplayed Conner in the run game on Sunday night, and he isn’t going unnoticed. the Kentucky product is now averaging 1.4 more yards per carry than James Conner throughout the season.
James Conner has been excellent as a receiver this year – averaging nearly 9.0 yards per reception on his 26 grabs. But he has left a lot to be desired running the football. Benny Snell actually received more carries against the Chargers (17 to 16) and did more with his opportunities (75 yards to 41 yards).
I’m certainly not suggesting that James Conner shouldn’t have a massive role on the Steelers offense; he has been one of the few consistent pieces so far. However, perhaps the rookie should be given an opportunity to supplant Conner as the lead ball-carrier if things don’t improve soon.
We all know James Conner’s back story, and he is impossible not to root for. But if we are able to look at things with an objective eye, maybe it’s time Benny Snell starts seeing more opportunities.