Though Mike Tomlin will offer an official update at his Tuesday press conference, this NFL Network report indicates he’ll be vague about James Conner’s status for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. According to Tom Pelissero, Conner is “up in the air” to play this weekend.
#Steelers RB James Conner’s AC joint injury isn’t worse than it’s been after he left last week’s game against the #Browns, source said. Good news overall, but status for Sunday’s game against the #Bengals is up in the air. Timeline all depends on how he feels.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) November 18, 2019
He lasted only a handful of snaps Thursday before bowing out due to the right AC sprain suffered in the final moments of the team’s win over Miami. Against the Browns, he carried the ball five times for ten yards.
Running back depth and talent has been hard to find. Benny Snell’s status remains uncertain after undergoing a knee scope weeks ago. The backs who have remained healthy, Jaylen Samuels and Trey Edmunds, have struggled to make an impact in the run game. The Steelers are on pace for their worst rushing output in more than 50 years. Pittsburgh did sign Kerrith Whyte off the Chicago Bears practice squad over the weekend but he figures to make an impact in the return game.
The Bengals enter the weekend with one of the NFL’s worst run defenses. 32nd in total yards allowed, 30th in yards per carry. Still, in the first meeting, a 27-3 Steelers win, Pittsburgh ran for only 66 total yards, “led’ by Conner’s 10 carry, 42 yard performance.
Randy Fichtner and company will hope to replicate the success Oakland had yesterday where Josh Jacobs went over the century mark. The Steelers have done that just once this season when Conner rumbled for 145 yards against Miami following the bye week.