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Steelers OC on Jaylen Samuels: 'He makes plays'

With running back James Conner once more out for the Steelers and a postseason berth still to be had, Pittsburgh will once again turn to rookie Jaylen Samuels to likely carry the bulk of the backfield load.

Offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner has confidence in Samuels, which is no doubt eased following a huge game in the Steelers' 17-10 victory over the Patriots last week.

"He's here for a reason," Fichtner said via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ray Fittipaldo. "About a month ago I said he was one of those guys on tape who scored touchdowns in college. He's just that kind of guy. He makes plays, and he didn't let us down last week. He caught the ball when we needed him to catch it, moved the chains when we needed him to move the chains and protected the ball."

Despite the abundance of compliments, Fichtner is downplaying Samuels' outing to a certain extent as the back rushed for a game-high 142 yards on 19 carries, which was more totes than he's ever had, including college ball. He added two catches for 30 yards.

Samuels will have to prove himself in another marquee matchup, though, as the Steelers (8-5-1) take on the host Saints (12-2) Sunday afternoon and with New Orleans comes the No. 1 rushing defense in the land.

The versatile Samuels lined up at running back, wide receiver, tight end and H-back at North Carolina State before he was taken in the fifth round this past spring. So far this season, Samuel has 42 carries for 201 yards and 16 receptions for 148 yards, but he's looking for his first pro touchdown.

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