Four weeks into the season, the run game of the Pittsburgh Steelers — an area of focus in the offseason — has improved week after week. Still, it’s not where it needs to be. Anyone within the organization will attest to that.
After having a rather rough showing against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1 on the ground, rushing for just just 75 yards as a team in Week 1, the Steelers have steadily improved in each week since, recording team yardage outputs on the ground of 91 yards against the Patriots in Week 2, and then 104 and 119 in back-to-back weeks against the Browns and Jets.
Slowly but surely, the run game of the black and gold is getting better and better along the offensive line under first-year position coach Pat Meyer, and in the backfield with second-year pro Najee Harris and undrafted rookie free agent Jaylen Warren.
Still, for head coach Mike Tomlin, it’s not good enough because the Steelers are in a results-based business.
Speaking with reporters Tuesday during his weekly media availability, Tomlin stated that while he’s seen improvements, the Steelers need to continue to show improvements in that area to help change the outcomes of games, especially in the second half of football the last three weeks.
“Improving every single week, but we are not graded on improvement, we’re graded on results,” Tomlin stated to reporters, according to video via the Steelers official YouTube page. “And so they need to continue to improve in the ways that they have and in effort to change the outcome of these games.”
It’s a results business, one the Steelers aren’t getting the right ones in at the moment. Still, the improvements from a statistical standpoint are certainly promising in the run game for the Steelers as Harris put together his best performance of the season against the Jets, rushing for 74 yards on 18 carries, ripping off a pair of 10+ yard runs in the loss.
Warren even added a 14-yard run in the loss as the Steelers were able to get out on the perimeter a bit more with their linemen, moving defenders off the ball and creating large lanes for the backs to run through. Improvement is good, but it has to get better in the weighty moments, running the football to help control the clock in the second half, keeping the defense on the sideline and closing out games.