The Pittsburgh Steelers bye week was probably a welcomed sight for quite a few players with running back James Conner quite possibly being one of them. After all, Conner, who is in his second-season in the NFL, has already logged nearly 370 total offensive snaps which is roughly 85.5% of the total through 6 regular season games on his way to registering 129 total touches for 710 yards from scrimmage. In fact, only four other players currently have more touches than Conner does entering Week 8 of the NFL regular season.
On Wednesday, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was asked if he thinks Conner is ready to handle more of the offensive workload coming off the bye week.
“Well, I think he’s going to be well rested, Roethlisberger said. “I think his body probably feels pretty good, and as we all should, and so I’m excited for him to really get a push and even be more involved than he has been.”
While Conner has shown a great ability when it comes to carrying the football this season while fellow running back Le’Veon Bell remains AWOL from the team the most noticeable improvements that he’s made since his rookie season include him showing he can not only be an effective and productive pass catcher out of the backfield but a reliable pass protector as well. Roethlisberger commented on the improvements Conner’s made in those areas of his game on Wednesday
“I think James Conner is getting better and that’s always a positive for our team and for our run game and he’s getting better in the pass game,” Roethlisberger said.
During the team’s bye week, Conner made the rounds at ESPN doing several interviews and one of those was with Adam Schefter of ESPN on his podcast. Schefter asked Conner what’s left for him to do this season even though it’s already gone great for him through the team’s first six regular season games.
“Oh, man, there’s a lot left,” Conner said. “It looks decent on paper, but when I watch the film, that’s the thing that I’ve learned every week, is that you learn something new about yourself. And there’s always mistakes after every game. So, there’s a lot, a lot of football left and there’s a lot more I can do just with the ball in hands and without the ball. So, yeah, we have a lot of football left, so man, every week is a new week and have a lot the prove still.”
The Steelers first post bye week game will take place this coming Sunday at Heinz Field against the Cleveland Browns. In the Steelers Week 1 tie against the Browns in Cleveland, Conner busted onto the scene with 135 yards and 2 touchdowns on 31 total carries. He also chipped in another 57 yards receiving on 5 catches. He did. however, have one key fumble in the fourth quarter of that contest and I’m sure he’d like to atone for that one in Sundays rematch of the two AFC North teams.