Steelers Rookie RB Le\’Veon Bell \”Definitely\” Thinks He Has A Chance To Be The Opening Day Starter

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.

  • TJimmy

    He’ll have his work cut out for him with Dwyer and especially Redman on the roster. I look forward to watching the “competing” this summer.

  • Michael Mazanowski

    He will start and Redman will back him up. See ya Dwyer!

  • zyzak

    If he does he’s not very good Dwyer is awful and Redman is imjury prone

  • Fu-Schnickens

    Yeah, Redman will back him up on the sideline in plain clothes because he’s ALWAYS FREAKING HURT!!!!

  • Michael Mazanowski

    Fu-Schnickens!!!!!!! Don’t make me come over there!

  • dgh57

    He will start and Dwyer will back him up! See ya Redman!! Dwyer is about 4 years younger, has trade value, and less injury prone…..!

  • charles

    Give Dwyer a line and he is a damn good back, he needs to come to camp in much better cardiovascular shape. The compete part is one of Tomlin’s and Colbert’s better concepts, nobody’s position is guaranteed except maybe Qb.

  • r4kolb

    He will start, but by the 3rd week of the season we will need to put him at center due to “O” line injuries 🙂

  • Kevin Gobleck

    This kid is gunna be great!

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    It’s kind of cool that he would make a statement like this. I know the “proper” thing to do is say, “I just want to help the team. Whatever coach wants. Yada, yada.” But it’s refreshing to hear someone who is genuinely honest.

    He was drafted in the 2nd round. He has great size and skills. He’s going to be our starter at some point. He knows it. We know it. Everybody on the team knows it.

    They ask him if he thinks he can start? He tells the truth. “Definitely.”

  • mokhkw

    For anyone coming in to the Steelers who saw how our run game was last season it’s not unreasonable to expect there to be a good opportunity to start. Even LSH if Bell hadn’t been drafted( don’t laugh, he did start for the Cards last season at one point) could have been in with a chance given what Haley wants to do with the RBs in the pass game.

    Regardless of how good Bell looks early on, I would be inclined to have Redman or Dwyer start initially and then start Bell Week 6 after the Bye week.

    2 reasons for this – he is going to have to correct some things with his running style & the “rookie wall” means that you can only expect 10-12 effective games in year 1.

  • Pete

    Awful? Watch football much?

  • Milliken Steeler

    I think he takes over as a starter around game 3 or 4 depending on how fast hes grasps the offense which he says is similar anyway. He does run like Eddie George but hes more stocky and doesn’t run upright like Eddie did.

    He’ll take over for Dwyer not Redman. Dwyer issues were not staying in shape but rips off 5 to ten yard runs regularly. He doesn’t have the hands Bell has and barring any regression because of upside and age; he will stick right behind Bell. I think its Batch or Redman that goes.

  • westernsteel

    Bell is gonna have to screw up pretty bad not to be the starter……that’s why he was drafted.

  • JDR

    no shit… thank you!
    you give him the ball and he runs to daylight, thats the job… its not rocket science and why it is also easier at rb for a rookie than just about any position… any RB worth a crap and you think is your workhorse you throw him in there right from the start, there are no redshirts in the nfl