Steelers RBs Jaylen Warren And Najee Harris Thrilled About Offensive Growth Coming Under Arthur Smith - Sport News

Steelers RBs Jaylen Warren And Najee Harris Thrilled About Offensive Growth Coming Under Arthur Smith

While Pittsburgh Steelers fans may have had mixed reactions to the hiring of new Offensive Coordinator Arthur Smith, the players seem to be thrilled. This is especially true of the Steelers’ top two running backs, Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren. Smith will likely bring an increased focus on the run game, which is good for the duo that has been doing a great job splitting carries the past two seasons.

Steelers RBs Jaylen Warren And Najee Harris Thrilled About Offensive Growth Coming Under Arthur Smith

Smith was most recently the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons and wasn’t exactly successful during his three seasons there. However, most analysts agree that Smith was an outstanding offensive coordinator when he was with the Tennessee Titans. During his time in Nashville, he helped running back Derrick Henry win NFL Offensive Player of the Year when he rushed for 2,027 yards.

Understandably, some Steelers fans are concerned. The team’s last two offensive coordinators, Randy Fichtner and Matt Canada, were inexperienced internal hires who were unable to effectively engineer winning games consistently enough, even with very talented players.

Steelers Running Backs Excited To Hear What Arthur Smith Has In Mind

Recently Harris and Warren spoke with Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sports reporter, Brian Batko, about the hiring of Smith and how they think it will help the team. According to Batko, Harris and Warren combine to make one of the best running back duos in the league. Having such a strong core will only serve to help Smith, who is known to develop a powerful run game.

Batko spoke to Smith and Harris, who were in Las Vegas for the festivities leading up to the Super Bowl, and were talking with reporters on Radio Row. Batko asked Harris what the first thing that ran through his mind was when he heard about Smith being hired.

“I mean, shoot, let’s win some games,” said the former University of Alabama standout. “That’s really it.”

While Harris was drafted in the first round in 2021 and Warren was an undrafted free agent in 2022, the two began sharing responsibilities in Warren’s first season. Harris was struggling to return from an injury and coupled with some poor offensive line play, the team was not successful in running the ball.

When Head Coach Mike Tomlin decided to allow them both to carry the ball, things began to improve. Then, about halfway through the 2023 season, we saw the offensive line click a little better and the run game take a big step forward. The two have set their egos aside and have focused on what is best for the team.

Warren told Batko that he had heard that Smith likes to run the ball and that he had seen what he did in Tennessee. The hope is that Smith can take this running duo to the next level.

“I’m excited. That’s really all I know about him is that I’ve heard he likes to run the ball. That’s kind of been the identity we’re trying to establish the past couple years. I guess, so I’m excited to see what he brings to the table.”

Harris is certainly very familiar with Henry, as he was the one to fill his cleats when he left Nick Saban’s Alabama team for the NFL. It is hard to compare anyone to Henry. Unlike Harris, Henry’s backups rarely saw action with him doing every thing. But the duo of Harris and Warren have certainly made an impact and it seems to be working for Pittsburgh.

“I really don’t know about him and what he did in Atlanta,” Harris added. “I know a little bit of when he was in Tennessee with Derrick. Hopefully, he can bring that to the Steelers.”

He went on to say that he plans to spend more time getting to know Smith’s work when he gets back home. Prior to arriving in Vegas, Harris said he had been traveling a lot since the season ended.

The addition of Smith to the Steelers staff could certainly signal the start of something incredible for Harris and Warren, who should see even more carries than they did before. It should also help whoever is the Steelers quarterback for 2024. Smith likes to incorporate a lot of play-action passing in with the run game. While his offense sounds more simplified, it might be just what this team needs to get back on track.

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