Steelers RBs Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren open up about OC Arthur Smith

Last season, the Pittsburgh Steelers found success running the football in the second half of the season. The offensive line started to gel, Matt Canada was gone and the coaches finally figured out the best way to utilize the running back tandem of Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren.

Now the Steelers are looking at a brand new offense with Arthur Smith as the offensive coordinator but an offense that has its roots in old-school football. Smith likes to run the football and run play action off of it. Things Harris and Warren are excited about.

“I’m excited,” Warren said. “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.”

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

If you focus on what Smith did in Tennessee, several things stand out. First, Smith ran the entire run game through Derrick Henry. The top two backs in Tennessee in 2020 carried the football 425 times with 378 of those carries going to Henry. Last season, the combo of Harris and Warren carried the football 404 times. So workload won’t be an issue.

The other big thing of note for Harris and Warren is Smith doesn’t use his running backs in the passing game. Henry and Jeremy McNichols only combined for 31 catches in 2020. Harris and Warren combined for 90 catches in 2023.

Story originally appeared on Steelers Wire