Jaylen Warren had his best game of the regular season last night with four carries for 30 yards, but at the end of a 10-yard carry, he fumbled. While Diontae Johnson was there to fall on it, it’s not the first time fumbling issues popped up with Warren, as he had one in a preseason game and also in training camp. He was asked today how to make sure fumbling doesn’t remain a problem.
“Just be more cautious with it, be more aware. I put that on tape, I got to live with it, and just do what I can to not do it again,” Warren said via a tweet from Chris Adamski from TribLive.
As a running back, one of the quickest ways to fall out of favor with the coaching staff is turning the ball over, and Warren’s fumbling issues are something that has to be cleaned up. At only 5’8″, he’s going up against much bigger defenders, so while ball security might be a little bit more of a challenge for him, he’s gotta pay extra attention to taking care of the ball. When he fumbled in the preseason, he carried a ball in his arm all day and coaches and teammates tried to take swipes at it to knock it out. It’s clear he cares about ball security, but he has to show the ability to put that practice into action by not fumbling during the game.
Warren’s a physical runner who hits his hole hard, and he’s flashed a lot of potential this year. He had a 35-yard reception on a shovel pass get taken off the board later in the game due to a penalty on Pittsburgh, but he’s shown the ability to perform as both a runner and a receiver. The Steelers need someone who can continue to take the load off from Najee Harris, and Warren certainly seems like he can be that guy.
However, he’s not getting a lot of touches a game, and if he fumbles one of those touches away, he’s going to find himself on the bench. Pittsburgh can’t afford turnovers with how bad their offense is, and the backup running back is going to have a very limited leash, especially going forward now that he’s put one on the ground in a regular season game. Warren definitely has the ability to stick in this league, and not only stick but be a pretty talented player who fills a valuable role for Pittsburgh. He just needs to keep the ball in his hands. If he doesn’t, the Steelers will be looking for his replacement.