PITTSBURGH — Mike Tomlin isn’t known for using a committee approach when it comes to running backs usage.
Then again, when he had players such as Le’Veon Bell, Rashard Mendenhall and Willie Parker, who were clearly better than the other running backs on the roster, it didn’t make a lot of sense to pull them out of the game to use a lesser player.
But second-year running back Benny Snell might be forcing Tomlin’s hand this year.
James Conner was a Pro Bowl player two seasons ago for the Steelers at the running back position, but has missed six of a possible 17 games has had three other games -- including the team’s 26-16 season-opening win over the Giants -- in which he has played 15 snaps or fewer before exiting with an ankle injury.
So, in nine of the Steelers' past 17 games, Conner has essentially not been available to them.
That has opened the door for Snell to gain more playing time. Against the Giants, a slimmed down Snell -- he lost 12 pounds in the offseason -- took advantage of Conner leaving the game after just 15 snaps -- and 9 yards on 6 carries -- to gain a career-high 113 yards on 19 carries in the win.
© 2020 Cox Media Group