PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – A self-described run blocking specialist, Steelers tackle Zach Banner said during his show with the 93.7 The Fan’s ‘PM Team’ it’s not as much about a Steelers inability to run as it is the scheme.
“When you are able to swing the ball out, Ben throwing it 15 yards to the left and gaining four yards is just as good as Conner doing the same thing on a power scheme,” Banner said. “It’s called an RPO, run/pass option, the reason why good quarterbacks lean on it so heavy like Ben does because guys (defensive players) make mistakes when we are moving fast.”
“Ben sees these things. He sees the field. It’s like a chess player and we are his pieces. We depend heavy on that and our receivers know that too which means they need to step up and block.”
Banner said he’s never seen a better pass blocking receiver than James Washington and JuJu Smith-Schuster is very good at it as well.
“The style of play is the most important thing to execute and our guys out there are capitalizing on the passing game,” Banner said.
“In the past two years, especially when we had Conner down and Ben was healthy, we went to a heavy passing game. That’s just the style of play.”
Banner admits you always want to have that ability to close a game with a four-minute running offense, noting they were able to do that in games against the Texans and Broncos.
The four-year NFL veteran believes James Conner and the tailbacks are doing ‘phenomenal’ this year, but you can’t force something that isn’t working.
“When I hear fans I understand,” Banner said. “I understand they want to have all phases. They want Conner to have 200 rushing yards and they want Ben to throw for five touchdowns. But when you are talking about the National Football League there are dominant players on both sides of the ball.”