The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Benny Snell will record his first 100-yard rushing game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
Explanation: Although he ended up playing just under half of the offensive snaps, rookie Benny Snell still ended up as the team’s lead back on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. He got a lot of work while he was in the game, posting a career-high in 21 carries, putting up 98 yards. Now with homefield advantage, and a week further removed from a knee injury, the table is set for more success.
If Snell runs the way that he did last week—and the line blocks the way that it did—then it’s very much in the ballpark. The pulling guards in particular were effective, with the power run to the outside proving most useful.
The fact that the Browns will be without Myles Garrett is a nice bonus that shouldn’t be ignored, not to the mention the fact that, as mentioned, it’s taking place at Heinz Field. The Steelers should have this matchup. Cleveland isn’t a great run defense to begin with, and they have weaknesses along their defensive front.
And Snell is a young back gaining confidence as he finds success. He could have had a 100-yard game last week already. That knee looked just fine, but he’ll only be better and strong this week.
A lot of his runs, and his success, happened in the fourth quarter though when the Steelers were winning. If Pittsburgh can’t get a lead, they won’t even have a shot at running out the clock the way that they did against the Bengals.
And speaking of the Bengals, they are the only run defense that the Steelers have played this season worse than the Browns, so having success in Cincinnati is nothing to throw your hat into the air about. If anything, the Steelers will spread the workload out further this week, getting Kerrith Whyte more involved.