PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers' offseason has plenty of decisions, but somewhere near the top of the list is fixing the issue that is the run game.
The Steelers finished the 2020 season ranked dead-last in rushing, totaling just 1,351 yards on the ground between 10 players. After the third season in a row playing less than 14 games, the team is expected to move on from running back James Conner and start from scratch at rebuilding the ground attack.
"The group of guys we had last year—the offensive line, the running backs, the wide receivers, the quarterbacks—it did not produce a good running game," general manager Kevin Colbert told reporters on Wednesday.
Colbert said his job this offseason regarding the run game will be to fix the personnel. "Schematically, that's up for the coaches and up to Coach [Mike] Tomlin to figure that. And my input would be if we need to do certain things schematically, these are the types of players that may be available to help us achieve that."
Colbert admitted the run game wasn't a single player or coaching decision that left it dry all season. The team isn't blaming Conner, former offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, or any other group of players for the struggles in 2020.
"It is a collective effort. You can't say the runners weren't good enough or the quarterbacks weren't good enough or the line wasn't good enough," Colbert said. "To put out the kind of running game we did, no one was good enough."
Conner is expected to hit free agency and leave Pittsburgh. On the offensive line, Alejandro Villanueva and Matt Feiler will need new contracts - somewhere - and Maurkice Pouncey retired.
Maybe unideal to have your starting running back and three starting offensive linemen gone in one offseason, but the Steelers are looking at it as a chance to rebuild.
And a chance for the Steelers to turn their running game around for the first time in two seasons.
"We need to be better quite honestly just in reference to what Mike [Tomlin] was talking about, we need to finish," Colbert said, reflecting on the team's late-season struggles. "And I think having a strong running game helps teams finish in that time of year."