USA Today

The Pittsburgh Steelers are not making drastic changes following this past Sunday's 38-3 loss to the Buffalo Bills, a loss that dropped Pittsburgh to 1-4 entering this Sunday's game against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers

But Steelers coach Mike Tomlin did acknowledge during his weekly press conference that rookie running back Jaylen Warren will continue to see an increased role in the offense. Warren had nine touches for 63 all-purpose yards against the Bills while splitting reps with starter Najee Harris

"We've been playing Jalen increasingly anyway, and I think that's going to continue," Tomlin said. "I think he's proven that he's a capable varsity player, and we need players from all parties involved. That has transpired and will continue to transpire."

Jaylen Warren
PIT • RB • #30
View Profile

For whatever reason, the hard-nosed Warren is having more success finding running room than his teammate. Warren has carried the ball 19 times with a 4.9 yards-per-carry average. Harris has toted the rock 69 times for an average of 3.2 yards per carry. 

"He missed some time in team development, and that may be a component of him finding or not finding rhythm," Tomlin said of Harris, who has dealt with several injuries since the start of training camp. "But probably it's just reflective of kind of where we are. It's tough to analyze individual components of something when things unfolded, particularly last Sunday, the way they folded from a collective perspective." 

Warren made the Steelers' 53-man roster after signing with Pittsburgh shortly after the conclusion of April's draft. The Clifton, North Carolina, native had an eventful college career that saw him win the NJAA National Offensive Player of the Year award in 2018 before spending the 2019 and '20 seasons at Utah State. He averaged 5.4 yards per carry at Utah State before playing for Oklahoma State last fall. During his only season with the Cowboys, Warren rumbled for 1,216 yards and 11 touchdowns. He had 119 all-purpose yards in Oklahoma State's Fiesta Bowl win over Notre Dame. 

The Steelers were vocal about improving their running game going into the season. They have, but only if you compare where they are now to last year, when they were dead last in the league in rushing. The Steelers are still a lowly 29th in the league in rushing through five games this season, as they are averaging fewer than 90 yards per outing. 

Tomlin is hopeful that Warren can help improve the running game, which in turn will help the Steelers offense as a whole. 

"I think if you talk about touches and rhythm and things of that nature, you [have to] win weigh downs [and] possession downs," Tomlin said. "That allows you to possess the ball and to continue to snap it, and that creates more opportunity for everyone. Whether it's the run game, whether it's targets from a receiving standpoint, whether it's running back rhythm ... etc. The winning of possession downs aids all of those discussions, because it produces more downs."