Pittsburgh Steelers rookie running back Le\’Veon Bell has reportedly had a hell of a training camp so far as he looks to become the first rookie running back in Pittsburgh to start a season opener since Tim Worley last did it in 1989. As much praise as Bell has received, however, you can clearly tell that it hasn\’t gone to his head.
“I would give myself a five or a six (out of ten),” Bell said Sunday. “I have so much room for improvement. The game is still coming to me. It’s still slowing down for me. I have a lot of work to do. As long as I keep progressing and growing as a player, I should be fine.”
So is Bell being a little too hard on himself? According to his position coach Kirby Wilson, he probably is.
“I don\’t know if I would be that hard on him, but most good young players are extremely hard on themselves because they\’re competitive, and he\’s no different,” said Wilson about Bell\’s rating he gave himself. “He\’s had a solid camp to date, and he\’s doing a lot of good things. He\’s still learning. Everything is still relative new to him, but he\’s focused. Everyday is an interview and he\’s stepped up to plate and represented himself extremely well.”
That\’s pretty good praise coming from Wilson, who has coached the Steelers running backs since 2007. However, he wasn\’t the only one who likes what he\’s seen so far out of the second-round draft pick as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has also been impressed with the Michigan State product.
“Well, he\’s shown some power, obviously, being able to run through some things,” said Roethlisberger on Saturday about Bell. “I\’ve seen him show some kind of shiftiness, quickness; he\’s made some guys miss, which is good. You want a back that\’s dynamic and can do a lot of things, and that\’s what I\’ve seen from him so far.”
One of the biggest concerns about a young running back is his ability to pass block, but linebacker LaMarr Woodley thinks Bell is coming along fine in that area based on what he observed in the backs on backers drill.
“He looked pretty good,” said Woodley. “I think he\’s going to get a lot better back there. I tell you what, he does a great job running ball, so that\’s definitely not a problem, but his pass blocking is definitely going to get better throughout the year.”
So can Bell become a ten by the time the season opener rolls around? Does he even have to be a ten in order to be the best option the Steelers have at the running back position?
Training camp is only ten days old right now, so Bell has another month to improve even more. The Steelers need him in the starting lineup as soon as possible, and if he continues his current pace of progression, he\’ll be a one on the depth chart when the team takes on the Tennessee Titans.