Steelers Say Their Goal Is To Play RB Jaylen Warren On 30% Of Snaps

Jaylen Warren has been a fan favorite, and successful when playing this season for the Pittsburgh Steelers. An undrafted free-agent from Oklahoma State, Warren took advantage of Najee Harris’ training camp injury and looked great in camp and in preseason games. Warren made the roster and earned the backup running back role to start the season. 

Warren has been thrown into game action this season and has excelled as well, averaging 5.3 yards per carry, and on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles he averaged a monster 8.3 yards per carry, albeit on only six attempts. 

Today, Steelers running back coach Eddie Faulkner was asked about if Warren has earned more playing time.

“I came into it [the season] saying, you know, if he was playing anywhere from a 30% clip in the game, plus that, it’d be good. And I think about every game we’ve about hit that” Faulkner said via the team website. “I think Jaylen’s playing good and based on what’s going out on the field in terms of if Najee needs a blow or if Jaylen’s giving us a spark or whatever, we’ll make decisions on who’s in and out the game based on that.”

Jaylen Warren has only continued to earn more playing time over the season. A few weeks back Warren earned the role of third down running back due to how he has been excelling in pass blocking. Now, he has been arguably the best running back on the team. He’s hovered around that 30% mark in most games. 29% in Week 2 against the New England Patriots, 25% in Week 4 against the New York Jets, 31% in Week 5 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and 29% Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.  

Some of Warren’s success is situational, as Matt Canada outlined earlier today. 

However, as Faulkner said if Warren is giving the team a spark, he will continue to earn more playing time. It is hard to argue that he does not give the team more of a spark. He has even been used on some big fourth down situations where he’s been asked to just barrel for a yard, and he has been successful in that too. 

While the coaching staff and Najee Harris say that he is finally healthy, it is hard to believe with the way the first round running back has been playing. Harris’ burst just isn’t there this season. Warren on the other hand looks to have a ton of burst, as whenever he gets the ball he explodes forward. 

With Chase Claypool traded, I think it would be interesting for Matt Canada to draw up a formation where Najee Harris is in the slot while Warren in the backfield. Harris is a threat as a receiver and having both backs on the field at once could keep the defense guessing and Canada could draw up some trickeration from that formation. 

Jaylen Warren has gone from camp darling to a good NFL player. That does not always happen, and we should all be enjoying his success in this down year for the Steelers. He has been one of the few bright spots for the team and has earned a place in the NFL. 

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