With Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell now ineligible to play the remainder of the 2018 season, fellow running back James Conner will obviously continue to be the team’s starter and primary ball carrier moving forward. With that, it will be interesting to see the kind of workload the University of Pittsburgh product receives in the team’s final seven regular season games.
With nine games now in the books, now is probably a great time to look at Conner’s workload so far this season and compare it to that of Bell’s 2017 season.
Entering the Steelers Week 11 road game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Conner has now played 512 (80%) of a possible 637 total offensive snaps. He’s also already registered 204 total touches, or 39.7% of all offensive snaps, that he’s played to date. To put those numbers into some sort of perspective for this season, Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley has now played 567 (84.5%) total offensive snaps so far this season and has registered 238 (42%) total touches. Do note, however, that Gurley and the Rams have played one more game than the Steelers have so far this season.
So, how does Conner’s workload so far through the Steelers first 9 regular season games of 2018 compare to Bell’s last season through 9 games played? Entering Week 11 last season, Bell had played 560 (91%) of a possible 617 total offensive snaps. Additionally, Bell had registered 260 total touches in those first 9 regular season games of 2017 which equated to him touching the football 46.4% of the time he was on the field. Comparably speaking, Conner’s workload so far this season is noticeably lower to that of Bell’s in the first 9 regular season of 2017.
Now is probably a great time to point out that through 9 games last season Bell had amassed 1091 total yards from scrimmage on his 260 touches while Conner now enters Week 11 having already amassed 1158 yards on his 204 total touches. If you do the math on those numbers, you’ll see that Conner is averaging 1.5 more yards per touch than Bell did at this same time last season.
So, what was Bell’s workload in the Steelers final seven regular season games of 2017?
Bell only played in six of the Steelers final seven regular season games in 2017 as he was allowed to sit out the finale against the Cleveland Browns. However, in the six games that he did play in, he logged 383 (89%) of a possible 430 offensive snaps. He also touched the football 146 times in those six games which was 38.1% of the time he was on the field. Bell also amassed 855 total yards from scrimmage on those 146 total touches for an average of 5.86 yards.