The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season is now in the books. It ended in spectacular fashion — though the wrong kind of spectacular — in a dismal postseason defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, sending them into an early offseason mode after going 12-4 in the regular season and winning the AFC North for the first time in three years.
Since then, they have lost several players in free agency who were key members of the offense and defense. Multiple starters retired, as well. They made few notable additions in free agency, and are banking on contributions on offense from their rookies, as well as perhaps a last ride for Ben Roethlisberger.
The only thing facing them now as they head into 2021 is more questions. Right now, they lack answers. They know that they have Roethlisberger for one more year, but was that even the right decision? How successful can Najee Harris be behind a questionable offensive line? What kind of changes can Matt Canada and Adrian Klemm bring to the offense? And how can the defense retain the status quo with the losses of Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson, and Mike Hilton?
These are the sorts of questions we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football is a year-round pastime and there are always questions to ask, though there is rarely a concrete answer. This is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all of their uncertainty.
Question: How secure is Benny Snell’s roster spot?
The Pittsburgh Steelers are attempting to overhaul their running game this season, making changes at every level of the equation short of the head coach. New running backs. New linemen. Line coach, offensive coordinator, and play-caller.
Some of this was not entirely up to them, particularly as it concerns the offensive line personnel, but they must play the hand they’re dealt. One facet they have control over is who will be in the backfield and when.
Rookie Najee Harris is going to be their guy. Beyond that, it’s hard to say anything for sure. Most assume that Anthony McFarland, a 2020 fourth-round pick, is pretty safe in terms of keeping a roster spot, given his potential and limited opportunities. But what about Benny Snell?
Multiple outlets, including ESPN, have recently singled him out as a veteran on the Steelers’ roster who could be at risk of being released. In addition to the drafting of Harris, the team also signed Kalen Ballage in free agency, and it’s not even guaranteed they will carry four running backs as they did last year.
So, entering training camp, exactly where does Snell sit? Is he really at risk of losing his place on the 53-man roster, or do the coaches like him enough to carry him and give him another year to see what he can do? My inclination is to believe that his position is relatively secure, but the next month and a half will tell the true story.