The Steelers season is officially over, and with the offseason now the focus of this team, I wanted to take some time to break down this team position by position. This will be both a primer for who will stay or go in the offseason as well as who could be added. This series will go position by position as we head toward the new league year.
We continue with the running back room, and it proved to be a strength of this team down the stretch. Had it not been for the backs, this team likely have collapsed in the final stretch of games and missed the playoffs. That said, there are some major question marks in this room ahead of the 2024 offseason.
Steelers RB room assessment
The Steelers running back room had to be one of the biggest strengths on paper heading into the season. The entire offseason was schemed around the duo of Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren taking over games. The offensive line was built up and physical receiving weapons were brought in to help aid in this grinding style.
The early results weren’t great. The line was below expectations once again early on, and defenses quickly realized that the passing game was a non-threat. This meant stacked boxes and mediocre games as the offense tried to gel.
Once things got on track though, the offense lived through the ground game. Warren kickstarted things. He proved to be a steady presence for the offense and a big play threat. He found ways to win even when Harris faltered.
Once the line got better and things were less obvious, Harris also found some ways to win. He busted off a couple of big runs, but he thrived as a grinding player. Progressively wearing out the opposing defense. Both he and Warren had good seasons, and both compiled over 1000 total yards respectively.
The rest of the running back room failed to record a carry. Anthony McFarland seemed poised for a limited role in the preseason with some designed plays, but injuries derailed his season and he was eventually demoted to the practice squad. Godwin Igwebuike failed to log an offensive snap and was only used on special teams.