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 should get the opportunity to be the Steelers’ featured runner over James Conner.
Explanation: While he hasn’t necessarily run poorly, James Conner has lacked the key ingredient of availability lately, and Benny Snell is coming off of one of the more significant performances of his young career at a time when the Steelers have really struggled to move the ball on the ground.
Given the fact that Conner isn’t even 100 percent healthy right now, nursing a quad injury, it makes perfect sense to afford Benny Snell the opportunity to see if he could take hold of the reins of the running back position, or at least of the primary ball-carrier role, should actually doesn’t encompass the majority of the playing time from the position.
One thing that we have seen from the Kentucky product is that he performs better over the course of the game, with some of his most efficient running coming in the second half when he already has 10 or so carries under his belt, so this is another reason to give him the opportunity to see if he can establish himself as a reliably effective ball-carrier.
One solid performance against a bad team with a bad run defense and half of their defensive line on the Reserve/Injured List is not enough to put a Pro Bowler on the back seat. When Conner has been available and healthy this year, he has been clearly the Steelers’ best runner, so as soon as he is back and ready to go, there is no reason to take snaps away from him.
Put simply, he gives the Steelers their best chance to win, and that has to be their focus. They still have plenty to play for over the course of the final two games, and unlike Snell, they already know that he has the capability of not just being a featured runner, but an every-down back on top of that.