Steelers Rookie RB Le\’Veon Bell To Get Work With Starters Against The Giants

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.

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  • Kenneth Wilt

    If they are not going to go “running back by committee” it leads to a question….how do you put the rest of the RB roster together? For instance, I could see this approach:

    Bell #1
    Dwyer – Relief
    Redman – Short Yardage
    LSH – Throwing, Change of Pace Back

    That being said, if you don’t want committee then you might want to add a guy like Batch to the mix due to his ability to contribute on special teams when a guy like Dwyer really doesn’t. It is going to be a tough question for the FO.

  • Matt Searls

    Just found out I have to work Saturday night :( now I have to buy that stupid nfl preseason package and go on a steelers news blackout until Sunday.. But still siked to see bell do work!

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Wouldn’t be surprised to see redman and dwyer getting some work as fullback where we get to utilize Bell’s receiving ability. That’s not to say Will Johnson won’t get any PT but keep this in mind packages of Paulson, Johnson, Burress, Redman/Dwyer, and Bell for goal line packages would be awesome. Much more versatility and size with that packages.

  • steeltown

    Exactly… though I’ve heard B.Batch hasn’t looked nearly as impressive

  • Madi

    Batch is obsolete at this point. He was supposed to be Mewelde Moore, and simply hasn’t lived up to the hype ever since he got hurt. He’s not much of a running back, and while he can do a decent job as a 3rd down guy, he’s no better than Redman, and less dangerous than LSH, and doesn’t have the potential of Bell. And his special teams play isn’t good enough to earn him a spot by itself. With all these guys healthy, I no longer see a need for him.

  • sgtrobo

    interesting concept, but I’m still not real trusting of Dwyer. As someone here said, “never trust a fat man in a contract season”. I’m ok if we keep him and then we get compensated next season if he goes elsewhere though

  • JohnnyV1

    I just don’t think you can go three deep on the depth chart w/o one of them also being able to play special teams. Meaning, Bell #1, Redmond #2 and Howling #3, w/ Will Johnson being a FB, being the 4th guy making the team at in the RB/FB position. Permitting that extra receiver, or extra LB, or extra DB…. I realize it’s hard to get one’s head around after last season, but if Bell gets 1,200 + yds this year and stays healthy, the extra guy won’t get a carry.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    If Bell is your feature back, Dwyer serves pretty much NO purpose. NONE. At least you can put Redman and LSH into roles they can help the team with. Dwyer provides no help on special teams while Batch would.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Dwyer and redman always had been naturally bigger backs, dwyer now is where he is and Redman is a lot lighter than usual. Which one do I trust more? Honestly I have to say Dwyer. Here’s why- age, better legs, and better pass- blocking ability. Now I’m not saying Dwyer is entirely better running back than Redman but I have to question how much different will this weight loss have become for Redman and how effective can he be?

    I have no complain about a fat and asthamtic running back and its not because we had Jerome Bettis but because of the expectations. Dwyer is expected to spell Bell as a starter, Dwyer shouldn’t (well as of now, that’s just my expectation) be asked to run the ball 10-15 times in game or more but probably will be used a lot for relieving Bell and passing downs.

    I’d keep Dwyer instead of Redman if price is right. You trust younger legs always, especially when it come to a running back.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    That’s not to say you are wrong but it is something to think about.

  • Madi

    Batch on special teams is nothing special. That means he’s one coverage guy that could easily be replaced by a guy of another position. Could be improved upon. A healthy, motivated Dwyer (which is what we have) is a far superior running back to Batch. That’s more important than one special teams spot that would likely see little drop-off, if any. The idea that we prefer not to have a running back by committee approach, therefore we must purge ourselves of all but one running back is just stupid. Dwyer is miles ahead of Batch. He could play relief, like you said, or be the top backup. That’s not a nothing position, it’s a real one.

  • sgtrobo

    I trust the effort. Yes, Dwyer’s legs are younger, but he has shown, year-in, year-out, that he is lazy and when given the opportunity, he will tap himself out of the game. He gains weight DURING the season. I just cannot trsut him. I also don’t agree that his pass pro is better than Redman’s. Dwyer is like Gilbert. The potential is there, but the effort is so inconsistent that their potential is nearly irrelevant.

  • steeltown

    Dwyer has been working wedge duty on special teams

  • steeltown

    Agreed. Dwyer is easily the 2nd best RB on roster.. Redman is your 3rd down guy and Dwyer is your true #2 reliever