The Pittsburgh Steelers may be 9-0, but they're far from perfect. During Mike Tomlin's normal Tuesday presser he acknowledged the only thing perfect about the 2020 Steelers is their record. One big critique he brought up was about the Steelers running game. Tomlin said the running game is just not up to snuff right now. The Steelers will address this issue while preparing for the Jaguars this week.
"We are not up to snuff right now. We accept ownership for that," Tomlin said. "We are going to roll our sleeves up and solve it. We had a similar discussion a couple of weeks ago when you were asking about our third-and-long defense. We did similar things there, and I expect similar results in the run game."
"The only thing that's perfect about our team is our record. We acknowledge that. There always will be things we need to work on. The last several weeks, for example, our pass defense, our third-down conversion defense was lacking. I think we spent some time talking about it during these news conferences, and we've re-centered ourselves in that area and got it better. I can't say enough about the efforts of the guys on third down defensively, for example, last Sunday. So I look forward to getting in the lab, the coaches and the guys, and attacking this run game situation. It's something we shouldn't have a difficult time pushing through, to be quite honest with you. We have very capable people in that area, but it is below the line as we sit here today."
The Steelers currently rank 24th in the NFL in rushing yards per game. They're 27th in the NFL in average gain per rush. James Conner is currently ranked 12th in the NFL with 556 yards with 5 touchdowns. James Conner's last 100 rushing yard game came on October 18th vs. the Cleveland Browns. Mike Tomlin is correct when saying their running game has been below the line, but this doesn't just fall on James Conner. The offensive line has not been helping Conner much lately either. The blocking has been atrocious in regards to opening running lanes and the Steelers seem to be utilizing Conner in reverses which makes no sense because he is a down-field runner. The Steelers need to figure out how to utilize James Conner as they did before where he doesn't tiptoe on the line and hit the hole from the get-go. He is an old school back and should be utilized as one. Tomlin plans to roll up their sleeves this week and fix the running game. They have fixed their secondary issues as well as their third-down issues so they're more than capable of cleaning up their running game. Tomlin looks forward to getting back into the lab.
"I look forward to getting into the lab with the coaches and the guys and attacking this run game situation," Tomlin said. "It's something that we shouldn't have a difficult time pushing through, to be quite honest with you. We have very capable people in that area, but it is below the line as we sit here today."