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Mike Tomlin: Improving running game goes beyond changing personnel

With the 2021 NFL Draft just days away, the Steelers' need for a strong running back has never been more apparent.

The Steelers finished last in the league in rushing yards during the 2020 season and the effort to improve on that performance is going to include several new faces.

Center Maurkice Pouncey retired after the 2020 season and the team has seen left guard Matt Feiler and running back James Conner sign elsewhere as free agents. Left tackle Alejandro Villanueva is also set to move on, so the topic of using the draft to help bring in personnel to boost the run game came up during Monday’s press conference.

General Manager Kevin Colbert said he thinks there’s good depth on the offensive line and that he doesn’t “underestimate the value of a quality player” when asked about drafting a running back. A recent report indicated the Steelers are looking in that direction, but head coach Mike Tomlin stressed that changes to the personnel won’t solve the problem by themselves.
“The improvements in the running game go beyond just the acquisition of additional players,” Tomlin said. “We’re capable of performing better than we have, players aside. Schematics, formations, the things that we do to give ourselves a strategic advantage need to be improved and that’s some of the things that we’re working on.”

Whatever approach the Steelers use, finding a formula that provides more balance to the offense should be a top priority for the coming season.