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: James Conner will miss more time with his shoulder injury.
Explanation: The Steelers have gone without James Conner for most of the past three games, and a stretch at the end of the game before that as well. They have not at all run the ball well while he has been out. He suffered a shoulder injury against the Miami Dolphins, during which he rushed for 145 yards, missing the next two weeks. He tried to return on Thursday against the Cleveland Browns, but had to leave the game after playing just 13 snaps.
If anything was obvious about Conner during Thursday night’s game, it is that he was not ready to be back yet. He had barely practiced in the weeks leading up to the game, and then had an abbreviated week of practice because of the short turnaround between a Sunday and Thursday game.
He carried the ball just five times in the Browns game, picking up 10 yards. He was not running particularly well, and may have been favoring the injury as well. Likely, he aggravated the injury further by attempting to play, which will set back his recovery time even further. At this point, who knows how much time he will miss? Multiple games certainly isn’t out of the question.
While we should get a better feel for where he is tomorrow, I fully expect Mike Tomlin to say that “we’ll let practice participation be our guide” regarding Conner’s availability for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Steelers coming off of a Thursday game have extra time before they play again, so that gives Conner more time to get back. This really comes down to whether or not he did further damage by playing, because if not, he shouldn’t have any problem being ready to go the next time around, considering he already participated in a game last week. They should have held him out, however.