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Steelers’ Randy Fichtner strives to get James Conner more carries

October 6, 2018

Steelers running back James Conner pulls in a two-point conversion past the Chiefs' Anthony Hitchens in the second quarter Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018 at Heinz Field.

Dating to the second half of the season opener at Cleveland, running back James Conner has amassed 104 rushing yards on 39 carries.

But because it’s taken three-plus games to get him those 39 carries, offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner is willing to take the blame for the lack of production.

“I probably just need to do a better job heating him up,” Fichtner said, referring to giving Conner more carries. “It’s just like quarterbacks, too. You get into a rhythm. And all good running backs, they need that rhythm.”

Conner has gotten fewer than 10 carries in two of the past three games, getting eight for 17 yards in Week 2 and nine for 19 yards Sunday.

There were six possessions Sunday in which Conner did not have a carry. He also was taken off the field at times in favor of Ryan Switzer, a slot receiver who lined up in the backfield.

Fichtner said none of it is meant as a slight toward Conner.

“He’s a tough, hard-nosed inside runner. He’s a capable outside runner,” Fichtner said. “He’s done a really fine job in protection and in routes, so he’s been very complete, if you will.”

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