The Steelers are at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, informally known as the South Side facility, now into the regular season. It’s where they otherwise train all year round, and the facility that Burt Lauten insists everybody refers to by its full name.
There are still unsettled questions that need answering, even deep into the regular season. They entered the process with questions in the starting lineup, in scheme, and elsewhere, but new problems always arise that need to be resolved.
Even questions about who’s starting and when may not have satisfactory answers in their finality, as midseason changes are certainly quite possible, for some positions more than others. We’re also feeling out how the new coordinator posts—or posts in new contexts—end up playing out.
There’s never any shortage of questions when it comes to football, and we’ll be discussing them here on a daily basis for the community to “talk amongst yourselves”, as Linda Richman might say on Coffee Talk.
Question: Will Jaylen Warren’s fumble affect his playing time?
There are a couple of facts that we have to work with here. One of them is the fact that head coach Mike Tomlin doesn’t easily tolerate fumbles, especially among young players. There is also the fact that, in spite of rookie running back Jaylen Warren fumbling on Thursday, he not only continued to play afterward, but Benny Snell Jr. did not play defensively.
In fact, Snell, the fourth-year veteran, has logged zero snaps on offense through three games in spite of the fact that he has logged 57 snaps on special teams already. As a veteran with several hundred offensive snaps under his belt, there is no reason to think that he couldn’t have gotten playing time.
So what does that tell us about how the Steelers’ coaching staff feels about Warren’s fumble? After all, it came as early as the middle of the second quarter. They played an entire half and then some after that. Granted, he only got one touch after that, and four snaps, out of the 12 in total that he logged for the game.
I admit that I was surprised Tomlin didn’t plug in Benny Snell there, though perhaps things would have been different if they were making more use of the backfield generally, especially on a short week. This is an offense without a margin for error, so they can’t volunteer the ball away.
Warren did play less in the second half, certainly. But instead of any of his snaps going to Snell, they just went back to Najee Harris, so maybe this says more about Snell than it does about Warren. Perhaps he gets a regular season mulligan for fumbles, and if he puts the ball on the ground again, then he might lose some of his workload to Snell. Or to Harris.