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 the 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 Najee Harris get his first 100-yard rushing game of the season next week?
Running back Najee Harris has had three of his four highest yardage outputs of the season over the course of the past four games. The two highest have come in the past two weeks, putting up 90 or more rushing yards each week, including a tantalizingly-close-to-triple-figures 99 yards against the New Orleans Saints.
Given where the running game has been and where it appears to be heading, it seems the logical question to ask: are we finally on the cusp of his hitting 100 yards on the ground in a game? It’s not exactly out of his means. He did have three 100-yard rushing games last season, two of which came in the latter half of the year.
The back even recently talked about preferring the conditions of the second half of the season, which he believes is more conducive to running the ball. He ran better down the stretch last year, and the start of the second half this year has been promising.
Of course, he’s probably the healthiest he’s been all year, dealing with the aftereffects of a Lisfranc foot injury he suffered in training camp. Getting a week off surely didn’t hurt, and he’s had his two highest rushing attempt totals since then, so the workload hasn’t been an issue.
Two other factors worth mentioning: while head coach Mike Tomlin seemed largely optimistic about him being available for the next game, running back Jaylen Warren got banged up last time out, so that could limit his usage and thus put more touches in Harris’ hands.
We also need to note the fact that the Indianapolis Colts present a good run defense. They actually rank second in the league in allowing only 3.8 yards per attempt, and 11th in rushing yards allowed despite seeing among the highest rushing attempts against them. They’ve held teams to under 100 rushing yards for a game six times this year.