After the Pittsburgh Steelers loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Pittsburgh running back Najee Harris made waves with a comment about not being able to make his own holes.
“I ain’t never really had that type of stat. I can’t make the hole. I can’t do everything. I try to control what I can control. I don’t know what more I can do other than vocalize it,” Harris said after the game Sunday.
Today, Harris clarified those comments, telling reporters including Josh Rowntree of 93.7 The Fan that he wasn’t calling anyone out.
“I think that we all get confused that this is the NFL,” he said. “There’s good players on the opposite side of the ball, too. You can take that however you want. I wasn’t pointing no fingers, like people thought I was doing. Me being who I am, it is what it is.”
Harris hasn’t been as good as expected this year, and the lack of successful run blocking has been a big reason why. If he was pointing fingers to the media, it’s not a great look to be doing publicly as a captain, but he has a point. The offensive line hasn’t helped Harris out this year, and with Harris hampered for much of the year by a Lisfranc injury he suffered in the preseason, it hasn’t been a pretty season for the second-year back.
Calling teammates out through the media isn’t the way to go, and maybe Harris wasn’t doing so like he says. But the offensive line does have to do a better job in the run game, and maybe Harris’ comments will light a fire under them, whether it was intended to or not. With the state of the Steelers’ offense as bad as it could possibly be, any sort of change will probably be a positive one, especially in the run game. With an easier schedule coming up out of the bye, maybe the offensive line and the run game can really get going and Harris can spring some big games together.
I don’t really think Harris’ comments on Sunday are that big of a deal. He needs to be better and the offensive line needs to be better. Heck, the whole team needs to be better, and I think they know that. At a certain point, maybe it takes calling a group out publicly to motivate them to play better, and maybe Najee’s comments on Sunday will do so. The run game can’t really go anywhere but up from here, and we’ll see how they perform coming off their bye in Week 10 against the New Orleans Saints.