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: Will it come down to one or the other for a roster spot between Benny Snell and Kalen Ballage?
Outside of, perhaps, the quarterback and specialist positions, basically every position group on the roster is flexible, numbers-wise, within a spot or two—sometimes even three in extreme cases and extraneous factors.
The running back position is one of the more mercurial roles, with the fullback position complicating the numbers. Obviously, having a fullback makes a team less likely to carry four halfbacks, but the Steelers have done it in the past, numerous times, in the Mike Tomlin era. They did it just last season, in fact.
Najee Harris is a lock to make the roster. Anthony McFarland seems like he’ll obviously get at least a second season. Both Benny Snell and Kalen Ballage are experienced players with experience. Will there be room for both of them on the 53-man roster?
Both are bigger backs with a somewhat similar skill set. It’s not a guarantee that they will have room, based on how the rest of the 53-man roster shakes out, to carry both of them. And that’s no even considering the possibility that Jaylen Samuels has a chance of making the team that is greater than zero.