Lack of Run Game Still Holding Steelers Offense Back: ‘Not Where We Want It’
PITTSBURGH — The Steelers just can not seem to get their run game going. Even after the first-round pick of Najee Harris in the 2021 NFL Draft and the signing of James Daniels and Mason Cole, the Steelers only average 3.6 yards per carry, ranking 28th in the NFL.
All in all, it has forced Pittsburgh to throw the football nearly 62 percent of the time, Offensive coordinator Matt Canada and the Steelers offense would like to run the football much more often than they do. But between a hampering Harris injury and a lack of cohesive blocking up front that has not manifested itself.
Canada went so far as to admit that the run game simply was not up to his standards. Even if Harris looks a little quicker and decisive without the steel plate in his shoe, that will not be the wholesale fix for the rushing attack against teams that want to sit in two-high shells.
“Again, I keep saying it, we know we’re not where we want to be,” Canada said. “You started it, so we’re not going to act like I’m saying it. You look at Naj’s health, he was out in camp and he’s coming along now. You saw him being a little bit more downhill, a little bit more decisive. The production is not where we want it, but I don’t think I’m ever going to come up here and say it’s where we want it. But it’s not where we want it.”
As it stands, the Steelers’ offense as a whole is not performing well. Even their promising fourth-quarter drives were converted on third and longs which seem unsustainable to a degree. Canada would hope that more successful runs could be introduced into drives like that in the future. They have to be more efficient as a whole, but Pittsburgh still must balance that want to run the ball successfully with being aggressive.
“You’d like it to be more runs,” Canada said. “And again, I think that’s where Coach talks about being aggressive as well. Sometimes, they’re going to put everybody up in there and stop the run and matchup wise, we’re going to do everything in our power to not give the ball back to them, right?”
Kenny Pickett will be back against the Dolphins. However, if the Steelers truly want to get a sustainable and efficient offense, getting Harris and the rushing attack going seems like a must.