Mike Tomlin expects Chargers to hone in on James Conner’s fumbling history |

Mike Tomlin expects Chargers to hone in on James Conner’s fumbling history

Joe Rutter
Getty Images
DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 25: Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts after the offense failed to convert on third down in the first quarter of a game at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on November 25, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Mike Tomlin expects running back James Conner to be targeted Sunday when the Pittsburgh Steelers play the Los Angeles Chargers in a prime-time matchup at Heinz Field.

Conner lost a fumble for the second time this season when he was upended after reception against the Denver Broncos. It was one of four turnovers the Steelers committed in the 24-17 loss that snapped their six-game winning streak.

Conner also lost a fumble in the opening week that helped the Cleveland Browns come back from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

Tomlin said he hasn’t lost faith in Conner, but he knows the Chargers are aware of Conner’s fumbles.

“I will acknowledge as a feature ball carrier in this league, when you got some tape with some balls on the ground, people use that as motivation. I know we do,” Tomlin said at his weekly press conference. “If we’re playing a featured runner and in some recent weeks he’s got some balls on the ground, Wednesday morning that is being discussed. That’s the nature of my conversation with James – just understand how the other 31 teams function.

“Somewhere in L.A. Tomorrow, they’ll be talking about his balls on the ground. I’ll be excited about watching his response to that.”

Tomlin detailed a few injuries that could limit practice participation early in the week. Among them are tight ends Vance McDonald (hip) and Xavier Grimble (concussion), and linebacker Bud Dupree (pectoral). Tomlin didn’t know whether Grimble sustained his concussion when he was hit at the goal line and fumbled through the end zone for a touchback in the first quarter.

Tomlin said defensive end Stephon Tuitt (elbow) and right tackle Marcus Gilbert (knee) could return to practice. Tuitt has missed back-to-back games and Gilbert has missed five because of their injuries.

Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at [email protected] or via Twitter @tribjoerutter.

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