Steelers' James Conner: Locked in atop backfield
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert pointed to Conner and Jaylen Samuels as part of the impetus for the organization's decision not to place a transition tag on Le'Veon Bell, Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
With the Bell saga finally coming to an end, Pittsburgh will move forward with Conner and Samuels in the backfield, hoping to regain some semblance of balance after ranking second in the NFL in pass-play rate (67.4 percent) in 2018. Conner did his part with 973 rushing yards, 497 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns in 13 games, though he trailed off in the second half of the season even before he missed three weeks with a knee injury. The backfield arrangement in the Steelers' Week 17 win over Cincinnati might provide a glimpse into the future. In that contest, Conner had 14 carries and three catches, while Samuels had two carries and seven receptions. Conner developed into a useful pass-catcher in 2018, but Samuels provides more of a threat in obvious throwing situations.
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