The Pittsburgh Steelers are two games under .500 for the first time in the Mike Tomlin era. Fortunately for the Steelers, there is still plenty of time to turn things around in a division that doesn’t seem nearly as tough as it was in 2012. Two main issues the Steelers are having this season are offensive line deficiencies and the lack of a running game.
The running game is obviously reliant on the offensive line’s ability to block and create holes for the running back, but some backs are able to create yards on their own thanks to a physical running style that allows them to truck defenders in order to pick up a few extra yards. One way the Steelers can improve their stable of running backs would be to sign free agent Michael Turner.
Turner last played with the Atlanta Falcons in 2012 and rushed for only 800 yards on 222 carries. Turner wouldn’t fix all of the problems that the Steelers have, but he would definitely bring value. The Steelers will eventually be getting rookie Le’Veon Bell back, and when he returns, he will be given the majority of the carries. Turner would be able to play the role he seems perfect for: goal-line back.
In 2012, Turner only averaged 3.6 yards per rushing attempt, but he did end up with 10 touchdowns. For him to be an upgrade, let’s be honest — he wouldn’t have to do much. The Steelers are currently using Isaac Redman and Felix Jones as their primary ball-carriers. Redman has serious fumbling issues and Jones has never been able to stay healthy.
When Bell returns, at least one of them won’t be needed, but if Turner is signed, neither will be needed.
Sure, Turner is 31 and the “scary age” for running backs is 30, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be able to help the Steelers anyway. For him to be most effective, the Steelers would have to use him strictly on the goal line and on third/fourth downs with less than a yard to go for the first down.
This is a potential move that has zero risk involved. If Turner comes in and he doesn’t provide anything, big deal — the other backs weren’t either. To me, it seems like a move the Steelers should consider making.