Pittsburgh Steelers second-round draft pick Le\’Veon Bell talked to the media on Friday after his first day of rookie camp and answered questions about how his day went, the offense the Steelers plan to run with him in the backfield and the likelihood of him being the Week 1 starter.
As far as how his first day of practice in a Steelers jersey went, Bell, who was the second overall running back taken in the 2013 NFL draft, indicated that it went well.
“Everything went good,” said Bell. “It\’s a little different from having a college practice to having an NFL practice, but everything went good. I don\’t think my first day could have went any better. I went out here and I didn\’t mess up on any assignments or anything, and that\’s a good thing. I\’m just out here competing with better competition.”
Bell, who carried the football 382 times for 1,793 yards and 12 touchdowns last year as junior, was asked if he thinks he has a realistic chance to be the opening day starter for the Steelers in 2013.
“Most definitely,” he said. “I think it\’s a great opportunity for me. I just want to go out here and compete. I\’m not setting it in stone that I\’m going to be the starter or anything, I just want to go out there and compete. Whatever happens, happens, and I just want to be the best that I can be.”
As far as being a good fit for the Steelers offense, that is expected to use more zone blocking in the running game than they have in past years, Bell obviously thinks that he is.
“Yeah, like I said, It\’s a great opportunity for me. They run my type of offense, it\’s the same type of think that we ran at Michigan State, and I just want to go out here an compete. Make this team the best that it can be.”
Bell was then asked if he thought he might be running between tackles more in Pittsburgh than he did at Michigan State.
“Yeah, its going to be about the same,” said Bell, who compiled roughly 50 percent of his rushing yards last season after contact. “Were not going to be one dimensional with just me running inside all of the time. They\’re going to switch it up and run outside every now and then. Defenses just cant know I\’m going to run inside all the time. So, were going to mix it up and catch the ball out of the backfield a little bit and all types of things.”
As far as what Bell is hoping to accomplish this weekend at rookie camp, the word “compete” was used once again in his response, just as it should be.
“No, not really,” said the 21-yeart-old running back. “I just want to come in here and compete. I\’m just trying to get my feet underneath me, get used to the NFL practices, get used to NFL competition, guys out here running around a little faster, and I\’m just trying to used to it and get my feet under me.”
There is nothing wrong with Bell stating that he thinks he has a realistic chance of being the opening day starter. After all, it is going to be his job sooner or later. The fact that he used the word “compete” several times throughout the interview was a good choice by the rookie. The Steelers are hoping that he can become an every down back for them as evidence by them spending a second round draft pick on him. It will be fun to watch and hear about his progress throughout the rest of the offseason, and his arrival should really help push the other running backs on the roster such as Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman as well.