The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, in which they entered with big aspirations, in spite of a tumultuous start to the offseason. Significant players were lost via trade and free agency, players who have helped shape the course of the franchise in recent years. We even now sit here without Ben Roethlisberger after just two games.
The team made some bold moves this offseason and in some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago. That would especially be the case at wide receiver and inside linebacker, where they have new starters. And quarterback was suddenly added to that list.
How will the season progress without Roethlisberger, behind Mason Rudolph? How will the young players advance into their expected roles? Will the new coaches be up to the task? Who is looking good in games? Who is sitting out due to injury?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Will the Steelers add a running back to the 53-man roster with both James Conner and Benny Snell injured?
When Jaylen Samuels suffered a knee injury that was expected to sideline him for a month, the Steelers called up Trey Edmunds from the practice squad. A few weeks later, he is going to have to be the direct backup to Samuels, and perhaps one of only two halfbacks to dress for the game against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
Starter James Conner suffered a shoulder injury on Monday against the Miami Dolphins, and he was unable to practice this week. Rookie Benny Snell also suffered a knee injury similar to Samuels’, and he too had to have it operated on, expected to be out at minimum of two games, and up to perhaps a month and a half.
And yet it’s less likely that they add a running back now than it was when only Samuels was injured. Why? For one thing, neither of their top two backs—Conner and Samuels—are projected to be out for a longer period of time. Samuels is back healthy and Conner may only miss a week. Snell is a rookie who has generally had a limited role outside of inflation due to injuries in past weeks.
There was also the fact that Roosevelt Nix was previously unavailable to function as an emergency back due to injury. He had missed five weeks before returning on Monday against the Dolphins, and he played something like 20 snaps.
Finally, Edmunds is a guy that the Steelers have had around for a while now, and whom they know and trust. The guys that they just signed to the practice squad are new to their system and have no NFL in-game experience, while Edmunds does.