This much is obvious. No one on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense is having the kind of season they want. When you’re the 31st-ranked scoring offense on pace to have your worst per-game output in more than 50 years, numbers won’t be kind to pretty much anyone. But RB Najee Harris is under the bright lights the most, slogging his way through a difficult first half of the season. Talking to reporters like he does every Thursday, OC Matt Canada offered a window in Harris’ mindset.
“If you’re a competitor, which Najee is, if you’re a winner, which Najee is, if you’re a guy who wants to do all he can to help the team win, which he is, then you’re going to ultimately look at yourself and really say, ‘What can I do better?'” Canada said via a team transcript.
Harris is his biggest critic and unfortunately for him, there’s plenty to be critical of this season. Through eight games, he’s averaging just 3.3 yards per carry on 108 total carries. Hypothetically, if he finishes the year with the same YPC and at least 200 carries, he’ll become the first back since Le’Veon Bell in 2019 (as a Jet, for the record) with such a stat line. In Steelers’ history, he’d become the first back since Jerome Bettis in 2003.
Since essentially Day One, Harris has had a tough start to the season. He suffered a foot sprain on the team’s first day in pads, an injury more serious than what the team led on. Harris made it back by the preseason finale but missed most of the summer and looked rusty coming back to the field. He suffered either an aggravation or separate foot injury in Week One while running behind an offensive line that’s struggled to open holes.
Canada acknowledged the poor numbers across the board while expressing confidence he and the rest of the unit will get better.
“Najee’s a tremendous talent. Again, nobody’s numbers are what they are, and nobody’s happy with where we are. But we’re going to continue to keep going and he’ll start trending in the right direction as well.”
Without a run game, the Steelers’ offense doesn’t have much of a chance to climb out of the basement. They’ll try to get things going this weekend against the New Orleans Saints. Their run defense has been middling this season but they’re also dealing with injuries up front, giving Pittsburgh a chance to get their run game going.