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Ben Roethlisberger confirms Steelers’ plans to use more two-running back sets in 2019

ben roethlisberger, james conner

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, entering his 16th season with the franchise in 2019, told SiriusXM the team plans on playing more two-back sets on offense.

The news doesn’t come as a shock in the wake of Le’Veon Bell leaving for the New York Jets following his holdout seasons in 2018. Jaylen Samuels, one of Pittsburgh’s running backs selected in the 2018 draft, told ESPN the not-so-secretive plan for two running-back sets last month, but now the Steelers’ shot caller Roethlisberger is confirming the report.

From Bryan DeArdo in CBS Sports via SiriusXM NFL Radio:

“Jaylen, I think we all saw what we can do last year with him,” said Roethlisberger, who led the NFL with 5,129 passing yards in 2018. “He’s a little bit more of a receiving running back. We can actually flank him out. He’s got great hands. We can do some kind of interesting things with him in the two-back situation.”

The Steelers’ running back corps also features third-year back James Conner, the Pennsylvania native and cancer survivor who the team took in the 2017 draft out of Pitt, and Benny Snell Jr., selected by the Steelers in the fourth round out of Kentucky in April 2019’s draft.

Pittsburgh also lost the elite wideout services of Antonio Brown in the offseason, trading the disgruntled seven-time Pro-Bowler to the Oakland Raiders, where he quickly signed a contract extension with the Jon Gruden–coached club.

Therefore, the 37-year-old Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense are going to have to adapt to a new style featuring a more diverse array of cast members, especially in the backfield, mixing up plays and giving freedom to their backs for both rushes and passing routes.