Pittsburgh Steelers running backs coach Kirby Wilson has been around the league for a long time and has been known not to pull any punches when talking about his running backs. With that being said, you can\’t help but smile when you read what Wilson had to say Monday about rookie running back Le\’Veon Bell, the Steelers second-round draft pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
“He hasn\’t had a mental error the entire camp, which is rare,” Wilson told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I\’ve never in my 16 years in the league seen that happen. He\’s sharp. It\’s his background.”
Bell, who was held out of the Steelers preseason opener Saturday night against the New York Giants as a precaution with a banged up knee, returned to practice Monday and looks to be on course to make his debut in a Steelers uniform next Monday in the second preseason game against the Washington Redskins. Judging by the comments made by head coach Mike Tomlin last Thursday during his press conference, it won\’t be surprising to see Bell actually get the start in the game.
One of the biggest concerns surrounding any rookie running back coming into the league is whether or not they can pass protect well enough. While Bell has reportedly progressed in that part of his game during training camp, Mike Prisuta of DVE Radio reported Monday evening on Steelers Live that linebacker LaMarr Woodley bested the young running back in a watered-down version of the backs on backers drill. Is that something to be worried about? No, I wouldn\’t read too much into it, but rest assured that Wilson won\’t put him in the position of protecting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger if he doesn\’t think he can block well.
Bell is a natural fit for what the Steelers want to get accomplished this season with their running game and judging by all the positive feedback the coaching staff has had about Bell up until this point, a lot will be expected from him against the Redskins. At the very least, we shouldn\’t see any mental errors.