Workload Of Steelers Backs Bell, Blount To Be Determined On Game-By-Game Basis

If things go according to the way Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin thinks that they will in 2014, running backs Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount should both get plenty of opportunities to carry the football this upcoming season.

“They’re both going to get their share,” said Tomlin during his final press conference of training camp.

Tomlin, however, said that while both running backs should see their fair share of work in 2014, there is no master plan for the season as there are so many things that could alter the amount of work that both receive.

“In terms of anything more detailed than that, no, we will deal with that on a game-by-game basis, based on the plan, based on health of the men and a lot of other variables, obviously,” he said. “We have a great deal of confidence in both guys; both guys are going to be central reasons why we’re  successful. That’s the plan and I think they’re open to that.”

It will be interesting to see if Blount is used to spell Bell after every couple of series early on in the season or if the team uses him more situationally. One thing is for certain and that’s that Blount likely won’t see a lot of third down snaps unless it’s a short-yardage situation.

Once he finally was over the foot sprain that caused him to sit the first three games of his rookie 2013 season, Bell played 691 of the 890 (77.6%) offensive snaps in the final 13 games. The fewest snaps that he played in one single game was 46 and that was in the Week 10 win over the Buffalo Bills.

Running backs on the Steelers 2013 roster combined to carry the football 356 times last season and Bell had 243 of those carries. It’s hard seeing him not hit that number again in 2014 as long as he stays healthy, so Blount could very well be lucky to carry the ball 100 times in total as rookie running back Dri Archer is sure to steal a few carries throughout the season as well.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Expect these comments to be interpreted as “running back by committee” in the fantasy world, which is total bull. Bell is still clearly the #1 guy, and for very good reason. (Not the least of which is because he’s an excellent route runner and pass catcher.) Blount will be the fresh legs battering ram in short yardage, certain specialized situations, and possibly to grind out the clock when the Steelers lead.

    I don’t see Blount taking away a significant number of snaps or carries from Bell, assuming both are healthy.

  • Jason

    I see Blount getting 2 series a game and spelling Bell during drives where his workload is high. I don’t see Blount being the “goal line guy” but if Bell bust a long one and goes down at the 2 they won’t hesitate to bring Blount in.

  • Matt Manzo

    If it’s 3rd and short and Blount comes in, it’s an obvious run, right? I wish he had better hands!
    This is where I think WJohnson can help out this year. If it’s WJ and Blount in the backfield on 3rd and short, we could pass to WJ every now and then to keep the D honest!
    I usually stay away from playcalling, but I fear predictability this year, I really wanna see us get creative on O this year, with all the weapons we have now! Not that passing to the FB is creative, but you know what I mean…more touches for WJ!

  • John

    I now expect that at least for a couple/few games, their workloads will be VERY light.