A running back and his offensive line need to have a good relationship. Understanding how the line blocks, moves, how the back attacks, in order to keep everyone on track for the most successful run game. Something that’s clearly an issue in Pittsburgh. But Najee Harris is also working on building chemistry with his quarterback, finding a connection in the passing game last weekend that Harris hopes grows over time.
Harris spoke with reporters following today’s practice.
“We’re building chemistry, of course,” Harris said via Steelers.com. “Especially later in the game. He’s trusting me more.”
Harris caught five passes on five targets for 43 yards and his first NFL touchdown, a 25-yard catch-and-run on third and ten to close the gap against the Raiders. In Week 1, things looked clunky, with Roethlisberger missing Harris in the flat for a potential touchdown. On another target, Harris was late to get his head around and couldn’t come down the pass, finishing with just one catch on three targets.
What happened Sunday was a positive. But there’s always room for improvement.
“It’s Week [Three]. We gotta keep building and hopefully we can keep building off what we did in the passing game. Not the end result.”
Recent Steelers’ offenses are no strangers to having their running back heavily involved in the passing game. Le’Veon Bell set all kinds of records for receptions by a running back. Though his career in Pittsburgh wasn’t particularly long and hampered by injuries, he has the most receptions by a RB in team history. Here’s the top five.
Most Receptions By A RB, Steelers’ History
1. Le’Veon Bell – 312
2. Franco Harris – 306
3. Merril Hoge – 241
4. Lynn Chandnois – 162
5. Fran Rogel – 150
Harris has similar catching ability, a standout receiver in addition to runner at Alabama, hauling in 80 passes over his final two years with the Crimson Tide. For a run game sputtering and a back like Harris not touching the ball as much as he probably should, getting him the rock in the designed pass game, with traditional screens or splitting him out wide in space, would be a welcomed sight.