PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – Mike Tomlin called for an emphasis on the run game this week and that James Conner is still his number one tailback. Conner believes the answers to the struggles are in-house.
“Just stay at it, it’s going to come, it’s just different flows of the game,” Conner said. “We are going to get it going. At the end of the day, it’s about wins and losses and we are going to keep working at it week in and week out.”
Conner had a stretch where he ran for 100 yards in three of four games (Denver, Houston, Cleveland), but has only combined for 105 yards in the last three games on 37 carries.
What can he do to improve the running game?
“Keep trying to get better every day,” Conner said Friday. “Make sure that my ball placement, make sure I’m being efficient with the runs and making good decisions.”
Conner should get some help in the backfield this week, offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner said Derek Watt is now ready for a bigger role after injuries have slowed his transition to the Steelers after starting his career with the Chargers.
“He will bring another blocker,” Conner said. “He’s a smart player, just want to get him back out there.”
It’s a Jacksonville defense that is 23rd in rushing yards allowed with the same rank in touchdowns, although the Steelers struggled to run it against a bad Dallas and Cincinnati rush defense.
“We came to practice and we practiced hard this week, like we do week in and week out,” Conner said. “It’s a journey, of course when we don’t go for 100 yards, everybody has something to say. To be expected, this is what we do.”
“At the end of the day, we just keep growing, keep trying to get better and it’s about winning and we’ve been doing that. So we are just going to keep that going.”