Stopping James Conner
Even without Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers rushing attack has started off hot thanks to former third-round pick James Conner. In two games, Conner’s racked up 257 yards from scrimmage with three touchdowns.
Kansas City was able to bottle up Conner in a high-scoring contest, but Conner shredded Cleveland in Week one. The Buccaneers need to shut down Conner and turn the Steelers into a pass-first attack.
Tampa Bay may not have the secondary to slow down the elite Steelers wide receivers, but injuries along their offensive line won’t be able to keep Roethlisberger upright.
However, if Roethlisberger can use play-action, Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith Schuster are going to have big nights.
Through two games, opposing teams have rushed for just 67 yards per game. Although the Bucs remain exploitable through the air, the offseason additions made along the defensive line has already paid dividends.
Jason Pierre-Paul and Gerald McCoy have gotten off to a hot start, but the injuries at defensive tackle could open up running lanes for Conner. Tampa Bay’s only healthy tackles are McCoy and Jerel Worthy.
Injuries could be a problem for Tampa Bay on Monday night, as McCoy will yet again be asked to play a significant role. With all of the help Licht brought in to take the pressure off of McCoy, it’s disappointing to see injuries hurt the unit.