We can all agree about how great of a player Najee Harris was for the Pittsburgh Steelers last season. You can sum up that Harris was a workhorse last season, as he hardly ever left the field. Harris leads the league in offensive touches and snaps just as a rookie. As we’re just a few months away from the start of the season and heading into year two, Harris and the Steelers will potentially lower this number.
“I am taking time off,” Harris said in his first remarks to the media since winter. “I will not be on the field for certain plays. We’re still going to talk about that, though. I do want to play. A lot. … Any time I can. But at the same time, it’s all about being smart. So, I understand where (Steelers offensive coaches) are coming from.”
~Najee Harris discussing taking lesser workload
Many teams in the NFL don’t necessarily have a “workhorse” on their team as often as they would like. Teams rotate between two-three backs each game depending on the down and situation. The Steelers, from recent history, show that they use one running back on all three downs of the game. This means they aren’t taking any time off during the game.
Lets run through the numbers
There were 170 more snaps played by Harris last year than Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys. Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (All-Pro and NFL rushing champion) ranked third among running backs with 768 snaps on the gridiron. Harris had 381 touches in the previous season, nine more than Taylor, who finished second in the league in that statistic. Harris was 83.5 percent of the Steelers’ offensive plays in which Harris was on the field compared to Taylor’s 68.9 percent, which is a significant difference.
The historical side
With this being said, the Steelers do want to give Najee Harris rest in between drives. The history of players with more than 370 touches isn’t pleasant. All except Ezekiel Elliott’s 2019 season experienced a decline in output or injuries among the prior nine players with that many touches in the last decade. Interestingly enough, no Steelers running back has surpassed 100 yards throughout the season. Not shocking, as Harris was on the field quite often.
Trey Edmunds, Anthony McFarland, Jaylen Warren, and Metaeo Durant might help relieve Harris’ workload this season.
For More Great Football Content
Follow us on Twitter at @GridironHeroics for more great content. We appreciate you taking time to read our articles. To interact more with our community and keep up to date on the latest in Football news, JOIN OUR FREE FACEBOOK GROUP by CLICKING HERE
Pingback: Be Careful of Drafting These 3 Players in Fantasy - Gridiron Heroics