Ben Roethlisberger has confirmed one of Pittsburgh's worst-kept secrets heading into the 2019 season. On Friday night, during the Steelers' annual "Friday Night Lights" training camp practice at Latrobe High School in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Big Ben openly discussed Pittsburgh's plans to employ more two-running back sets for the upcoming season.
A month after backup running back Jaylen Samuels opened up to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler about his team's upcoming plans for a two-back set, Roethlisberger told SiriusXM NFL Radio that the Steelers' offense will indeed use more multiple running back sets in 2019. Big Ben confirmed the change when specifically discussing Samuels, who caught three touchdown passes as a rookie last season.
"Jaylen, I think we all saw what we can do last year with him," said Roethlisberger, who led the NFL with 5,129 passing yards in 2018. "He's a little bit more of a receiving running back. We can actually flank him out. He's got great hands. We can do some kind of interesting things with him in the two-back situation."
Beyond the skill-sets of Samuels and fellow running backs James Conner and rookie Benny Snell, there are probably a few other reasons why the Steelers will employ more two-back sets in 2019. The offensive personnel, particularly at the receiver position, is vastly different now than it was this time a year ago. Antonio Brown, who caught more than 100 passes each of the previous six seasons, is gone, meaning that Big Ben and the Steelers are going to need more contributions from their running backs to help make up for Brown's lost production.