Steelers RB Felix Jones Might Start Sunday Night Against The Bears

The Pittsburgh Steelers running backs have only gained 70 yards on 27 carries through the first two games of the 2013 season, so we can probably expect a new starter Sunday night when the 2-0 Chicago Bears come to Pittsburgh.

Despite the poor run game performance Monday night in the 20-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, head coach Mike Tomlin made it sound like Felix Jones will be the new starter moving forward until rookie Le’Veon Bell is ready to returnĀ  from his foot injury during his Tuesday press conference.

“Our run game was obviously below the line, but I was encouraged by some of the things that Felix Jones was able to do and probably will be able to do moving forward,” said Tomlin.

Jones, who the Steelers acquired via trade with the Philadelphia Eagles midway through the preseason, carried the ball ten times Monday night for 37 yards and he showed some attributes during those carries that evidently gave the Steelers head coach some hope moving forward.

“Knowing when to bounce the ball to the perimeter, knowing when to stick his foot in the ground and get vertical, and take what’s there and when to challenge people,” said Tomlin about Jones. “I thought he showed some natural run instincts and things that are exciting that we can build from.”

The Steelers run game is currently ranked 31st overall in the league after two weeks and we have yet to see much of the new outside-zone blocking scheme that was supposed create more space for the running backs. Jones best fits that scheme, so you can expect he will be the starter Sunday night against a Bears team that has allowed just 3.44 yards per rush in their first two games.

  • Tom Savastano

    I guess hes the best option at this time…bigger news would be if the same exact o line starts..

  • srdan

    I think he needs to keep him in the game. Why does he feel the need to rotate players. Felix did well until Tomlin and Haley pulled him. Then everything got out of sync. Run a screen with that guy.

  • steeltown

    They should stick with Felix.. and if the game allows, give him like 17-20carries

  • MoSteel79

    I agree! It’s like the lack of confidence they have in their RBS has been so great since last season that they can’t leave 1 guy in for more than a couple series b/c they are worried he is gonna mess up. Like any positive plays are a fluke and they need to take them out before they mess up which keeps any momentum from happening. VERY frustrating to watch the running game for the last 20 or so games

  • Mkeller

    There’s really no choice at this point. Run him until he breaks. Never been much of an every down back but get what you can out of him while you can.

  • Berlusconi

    In so many interviews different RBs all say the same: It is important to get a rhythm going. Pick one guy and let him do his job; and let it be Felix

  • TheBlitz

    It’s frustrating to hear Tomlin complain about the running game or lack thereof and yet he takes his best runner (Felix Jones) in the first half out of the game for no apparent reason, and doesn’t give his chance to Dwyer, to plug in Redman instead although he has proven time and again he isn’t an every down back.

  • dgh57

    The decision to go with Jones on only 10 carries goes right along with the dumb decisions to play his best blockers but a few plays! Then he can’t seem to figure out why we are ranked 31st so far in the running game!

  • tpalya

    Any word on Bell? When he’ll be back?

  • joed32

    I wonder if he’s just poor in pass pro?

  • steeltown

    He’ll start practicing limitedly this week.. I bet he’s back after the bye

  • cencalsteeler

    Well, if they decide to go with Felix, they need to adjust the line to compliment the back. Felix is best suited for the zone blocking scheme, so they need to implement it more going forward. DeCastro’s strength is pulling. Put him to work! Pull him like there’s no tomorrow! Same goes for Foster! Straight forward blocking is not their forte, so adjust the line to their strengths.

  • tpalya


  • Weiss Chad

    I like jones better than redman.Maybe instead replacing the backs every week,they should replace or bench a cpl lineman.Unfortunately they can’t.

  • Jonathon Bert Schade

    Are there any run plays designed to go outside? Felix could bust one, I reckon!

  • Mike.H

    THIRD and one and Steelers got stone walled, PUNT!

    Paulson’s 2nd catch nearly became another fumble with elbow way out. Please, please, emulate your hero, Heath Miller — tuck the ball in your breadbasket, rookie!!!!!

  • Sabbie

    Why would he not start? And why did Tomlin pull him? I don’t get it.

  • RW

    For sure. I could see 20-25 carries on the night for him. If he gains 65 yards and scores one TD, I’ll be happy. Anything more and I’ll be outrageously surprised.

  • RW

    You’re saying two different things and you mean only one. If the guards pull, you can probably rule out a ZBS. If they zone block, then they’re running a zone scheme. Decastro is fine in ZBS and so is Velasco. Not so sure about Foster. Anyway, play to the strength of the RB. That’s why Terrell Davis was so good back in the day.

  • cencalsteeler

    Last night, they predominately ran power or straight forward blocking and I think they only ran 3 ZBS plays. My point was to run more zone blocking and when they go to power blocking, they need to implement more pulling of the guards.

  • John21

    What choice do we have?? Hoping for a Will Johnson sighting!

  • Informed reader

    possibly, but Redman is no better. if none of them can pass protect, at least put in the one who can run.

  • 2443scott

    jones cant be the starter unless you use him like a starter tomlin ..that means not once or twice up gut then switch to another back …..try passing to him also

  • GoSteelerz

    Until the run blocking improves it really won’t matter who is the RB. Felix did a good job considering, and so I can see the reasoning behind possibly starting him next week, but outside of that fluke 14 yard gain on 3rd and 16, he got 23 yards on 9 carries. That still won’t get it done. The o-line needs to be better at run blocking. When our running backs are having to break two or more tackles behind the line of scrimmage and then make another guy or two miss just to get one or two yards, that does not bode well for any RB we put in there. Redman breaks two tackles and gets a yard and everyone blames him. Hey he’s doing his job. If the o-line gave him a lane, he’d be breaking those tackles a few yards down field and be gaining 4 or more yards per carry. As explosive as Felix Jones can be, and with his instincts, he would do at least that well if not better. We’d sustain some drives, slow down the pass rush and it would open up plays down field for the receivers. Until we show we can run it, it’s gonna be really difficult getting guys open and giving Ben an opportunity to throw it well consistently. Unless that o-line improves, it’s gonna be a looooong season, for our defense and ultimately, for the fans… Right now I’m not very confident in this season…

  • Bob Graff

    This the same head coach who said to expect big thing out of Redman. It’s quite obvious these guys have no clue. Now they are waiting for an injured rookie to play in a month. This team has major personnel and leadership problems. What’s next? is that draw up the middle finally going to get us that 4 yards after 50 tries or i know we can always catch them off guard with a bubble screen. THESE GUYS ARE CLUELESS

  • Bob Graff

    How can they do that and bring Redman in? Come on guys they can’t try something that might work. Because they are way too busy shooting themselves in the foot.

  • AndyR34

    The facts are this is not a very good team…defense is above average still, but not top 5 due to all the rookies and missed assignments…the O-line is way below average…Ben is barely average…the RB’s are pedestrian…and the WR’s below average. Even with Heath, I think our TE’s are below average…result: a way below average offense that our defense can no longer cover for.

  • Harold Hal Bubby Wright

    Im really getting tired of everyone thinking there is a running back problem on our team or a terrible offensive line. I will admit none are all pro’s however there will be no running game if you only give the running back 10-12 rushes a game. Both games the running game was abandoned. Dwyer lead the team in rushing last year and in preseason,but yet there is a belief that felix jones is a better fit? Bell didn’t impress me at MS he looked soft to me and already he is hurt! Dwyer and Wheaton belong on the first team offense,(Wheaton) when we go with 3 and 4 wide receiver sets. He has the speed to make defenses think twice about putting 8 men in the box. Once wheaton breaks a few defenses will back off and the running game will look better! Haleys offensive play calling sucks,im surprised Ben hasn’t said anything yet! If the steelers don’t want to play Dwyer because he is in Tomlins doghouse then cut him so some other team can sign him! Don’t say well he was out there and no one signed him,really why do u think the steelers rushed to sign him if no one else wanted him,there were other running backs the steelers could have signed (Batch),but the steelers knew the giants and patriots were looking at Dwyer. Dwyer came into camp this year in the best shape of his career,so before the steelers label him a bust,they need to give him a decent chance,im sure they will see how wrong they are! Check the stats from last year Dwyer fumbled 2 times in 160 carries. the Steelers were stupid to give Redman a 1.3 million dollar contract he shouldn’t even be on the team,Wil Johnson can do his job and he runs faster than Redman. Tomlin and Haley need to put the BEST players on the field and stop taking personal attacks against these players,thats unprofessional and players on the team see it. Oh and it makes the team 0-2 ! Haley stop throwing that lateral wide receiver pass it sucks and im sure if you look at the data for the steelers that play gets no yards. Throw 5 yard slants better for the offense! At least the receiver is moving forward and not standing stationary and waiting on the ball while the defense is moving toward the receiver. Im sure defenses love that play and when you run a reverse with our slowest wide receiver! Don’t say H. Miller is the answer because he isn’t. We should have drafted a tightend in this past draft! Miller is past his best days!

  • joed32

    Felix Jones wasn’t supposed to start at running back, but did so after Isaac Redmanwas hurt on the opening kickoff.

    Jones led the Steelers with 37 yards on 10 carries, all in the first half. As Tomlin pointed out, Jones bounced plays outside, ran tough inside to convert in short-yardage and move the ball off his own goal line, and also ran 14 yards on a third-and- 16 draw thanks to a key block from David Paulson.

    On the downside, Jones’ only other kickoff return was a timid 17-yarder, and he performed poorly as a pass-blocker.

  • Bob Graff

    Here’s the problem. You can only get 12-15 rushes a game when your getting 2 yards a carry. If you run it anymore than that you would waste all of your possessions on trying to futilely run the football. I too have thought the use of slants, misdirection runs, and an out and up might help for a change of pace. Right now the Steelers are wasting 50% of there offense on 2 plays . The draw up the middle and the bubble screen neither of them have worked for a year and a half .Common sense says just stop running these plays your base offense doesn’t work, time for plan b or c. .

  • GI Joe

    Felix Jones isn’t the answer, Bell isn’t the answer, nor any other HB on the roster. We have, quite possibly the worst OT’s in the NFL with Adams and Gilbert. Neither one of those 2 can pass block, or seal the edge run blocking. Foster, who tried to pull or trap against the Bengals didn’t even put his hands on anyone. If we are going to run a power run, please do not pull Foster. Foster shouldn’t even be starting, let alone on the roster. But this isn’t anything new…this has been going on for awhile now. I point my finger at Kevin Colbert, and have for awhile. He has built this team through the draft, he’s the man who signs off on free agents (J. Scott, G. Whimper, etc) and the buck stops with him. You can blame Haley, the defense, the OL, Ben, WR’s, and on down the list…and rightfully so, as every area of this team is horrible. But Colbert’s the man who built this team throughout the draft. This organization believes in building through the draft, stocking young talent and a next man up attitude. Well, we have no “next man up” on the depth chart because we have drafted poorly. We keep trying to turn athletic TE’s into FB’s, which never work; instead of drafting or signing a solid, hard nosed blocking FB. I could go on for days here, but the blame (which, is plenty to go around) falls right on Colbert. If the Steelers keep this guy around, regardless of who’s coaching where…expect more to come.

  • Harold Hal Bubby Wright

    Yes I agree but if u get 2 yards on 1st and 2nd downs that leaves u with a 3rd and 6 which is better than a 3rd and 9 + which has been the case lately. I also would wait until we got a good lead before I did feed the running back the ball like that. Yes I don’t like the up the middle runs either no one on the o-line can move most of these nose tackles. A consistent 5 to 25 yds passing game will help the running game! When Bruce A ran the offense Mendenhall was so successful in getting over 1000 yds because the 5 to 25 yds passing game kept defenses off balance! When Ben goes no huddle that’s what he is doing,he is running Bruce A’s offense. That’s why Haley doesn’t like for Ben to go no huddle.

  • dollardoughtnut

    #1 back jones castoff from the eagles—top o-lineman velasco found flipping burgers ! we’re done

  • Luke Shabro

    Why start Felix? All he did was make productive gains out fo nothing. I say we start Isaac “One Yard” Redman. At least you know what you’re getting with him!

  • Luke Shabro


  • dgh57

    If they both end up producing then I don’t care if both of them were homeless living on the street. Too early to tell what we have right now.

  • Bob Graff

    How’s DeCastro going to pull when he spends most of the game diving at players knees? And foster, i don’t think anybody quite knows what he’s doing. In short these guys stink. the saying goes “you can polish a turd but it’s still a turd”

  • cencalsteeler

    Have faith Bob. This is a young group. It takes time to develop these players. Right now we are going through some growing pains, but you got to keep the faith. It’s way to early to consider these guys a bust.