Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le\’Veon Bell has had a solid first training camp so far as he attempts to become the first rookie running back to start a season opener since Tim Worley in 1989. Head coach Mike Tomlin has certainly not been blind to Bell\’s efforts thus far and he said Thursday during his press conference that the Michigan State product would be rewarded for his hard work Saturday night in the preseason opener against the New York Giants.
“Obviously, we\’re going to play the ones 10-12 snaps. Don\’t be surprised if you see Le\’Veon getting some snaps with those guys,” said Tomlin. “I think he\’s earned that, but don\’t be surprised to see him play after those guys are out of the game as well. He, like a lot of guys, we need to get a lot of exposure to and I\’m sure that\’s probably who you want to know about.”
The Steelers are obviously fast-tracking Bell right now and running backs coach Kirby Wilson said recently that he wants nothing to do with a committee approach like the team used unsuccessfully last season.
“You would love to have a back who can play first down through third down,” Wilson told Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “That’s always the best.”
We don\’t know exactly how many carries Bell will get Saturday night, but it will be important to watch how he plays when the ball is not in his hands as well. If he is indeed going to be a three-down back this season, he will need to show he can protect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger when staying in on passing downs.