5 best-case scenarios for Steelers 2021 training camp
By Andrew Falce
Steelers determine a backup running back early
While the Steelers got their new face of their backfield in the first round of the draft, they also have a real competition heating up for who will be his primary backup. While most will scoff at the idea of a backup running back being that important, a new, more run-heavy offensive scheme could develop earlier if the stable behind Najee Harris is properly sorted out.
Based on his speed and change of pace potential, Anthony McFarland makes the most sense on paper to be the primary backup. That said, his rookie season wasn’t great and he has some obvious developing to do if he wants to be considered for that spot. Kalen Ballage and Benny Snell are prototypical power backs, so if the Steelers want to emphasize a physical style of running, either of them would fit the bill. Even Jaylen Samuels could emerge as the primary backup, although considering his mediocre play that would be the least likely of these scenarios.
While it does matter who ultimately dons the title of top backup running back, the reason it is important for the team to figure this out sooner than later is that it will ultimately impact some of the offensive game planning. If a speedy option like McFarland is the backup, more jet-sweeps and schemes designed to get him into space will be implemented for him. If one of the power backs wins out, then a more traditional downhill approach will have to be used. Harris can function in either, so getting the best scheme in place early will help this offensive unit gel earlier.