Tomlin Not Ready To Say What The Running Back Load Will Be With Bell Returning

At some point over the course of the next 48 hours the Pittsburgh Steelers will activate starting running back Le’Veon Bell from the Reserve/Suspended list and he’ll be expected to start next Sunday in the Week 3 game against the St. Louis Rams. With that said, the team is still expected to carve out some type of roll for backup DeAngelo Williams even though head coach Mike Tomlin isn’t quite ready to tip his hand as to how that might ultimately play out.

“We will see what we do next week,” Tomlin said after the 49ers game when asked how he’ll balance the running back load with Bell returning.

As for Williams, even though he knows his role will be diminished some moving forward, he’s very happy to have Bell back in the fold.

“There’s no one more excited than me to see Le’Veon come back,” Williams said to reporters after the 49ers game, echoing his Sunday afternoon tweet. “Help is on the way, and I’m excited for it.”

In his two games filling in for Bell as the Steelers starter, Williams produced 224 yards of total offense and scored three times. All three of those touchdowns came Sunday against the 49ers and that tied a Steelers single-game record when it comes to rushing scores. Former running back Willie Parker was the last Steelers player to accomplish feat and that happened way back in 2008.

Being as Bell might have a little rust to knock off upon his return, Williams might very well come close to splitting reps with him next week against the Rams. Regardless of how the spilt winds up working out, Williams has more than shown during the first two weeks of the season that he’s very capable of filling in for Bell whenever he might need a breather.

Keeping Bell fresh over the remainder of the season might be a good idea as well and especially when it comes to later in games in which the Steelers have a nice lead. Last season, Bell registered 373 total touches and the Steelers would probably like to see that per game pace decrease some moving forward with him as long as it doesn’t result in loss of overall offensive production.

  • The Chin

    Archer has no real niche with this group. Seems this group is as good as there is in the league when Bell returns.

  • Birdman

    Unlikely but, wonder if the Eagles would take Archer?

  • Michael

    Will NFL consider going back to original kick off distance to “speed up” the excitement factor? Does this move really prevent injuries? Do you prefer now or old way of kickoff?

  • cencalsteeler

    60% Bell
    30% DW
    10% Todman
    That would be a nice recipe..

  • cencalsteeler

    Consider the TV timeouts prior to the kickoff and after the kickoff, it’s a waste of 15 minutes of your life we’ll never get back. It’s the dumbest thing the NFL has done in a long time!

  • dano

    DeAngelo is the league’s second leading rusher through week 2. He better have a role

  • Zarbor

    D.Will might end up being the best pickup this offseason. Love his attitude and even more what he’s doing on the field. Give credit where credit is due. The FO got this one right.

  • NCSteel

    From your fingers to Tomlin’s ears.

  • PittsburghSports

    I don’t see how you give a carry to Todman if Bell and D Will are healthy, unless the game’s out of hand like yesterday.

  • EdJHJr

    I would not start him , bring him in yes, but not start. And he has no right to complain. …. And it’s not that I want to punish him at all. He lost the job , I don’t know how or if he is up to speed, and DW is doing a good job. Ease him in I say.

  • EdJHJr

    What’s with Josh S

  • Kenneth Wilt

    Personally I split the carries by possession. 2 for 1 the whole first half with a 1 to 1 split if the game is like yesterday in the 2nd half.

  • pittfan

    He has been GOLD.

  • pittfan

    It’s why I DVR everything. I watch zero commercials and the saved time allows for some of my own slo-mo during the game.

  • LucasY59

    I would ease Bell into his 1st game back, especially with DLO doing so well while he has been out

  • treeher

    I guess someone we play will pick up Archer and then he’ll run for two touchdowns against us.

  • LucasY59

    yep let Bell start on the sidelines to show that mistakes can cost him, and even though he is one of the Best in the League he is not irreplacable (his time out is the opposite of the Chancellor situation in Seattle) DLO has been great and even though Bell will be also, him missing games hasnt had a huge impact on the team (Still glad they are getting him back)

  • pittfan

    Black irony dictates it would be the ratbirds..

  • NinjaMountie

    That’s a tough one. Are you talking about only next week? On a regular basis, I’d want him to tote the rock a bit more than that. He had, on average, about 20 carries a game last season; 60% would give him only 12 carries. I think we need to keep him right where he’s at. The big number on RBs seems to be 300 carries. He had 290 last year and that’s where he needs to stay. He did have a lot of rec but that doesn’t worry me much. I’d take Marcus Allen’s career as the model. He had a lot of yds rushing and a lot of rec every year. He got hurt the next two years after a 380 carry season.
    I’d like to keep Bell at around 250-280 carries and whatever he does in the passing game. He could have a long career that way.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    they need to get him extended asap

  • Dorian James

    I think they will. I also think we may see some of Bell split out while Williams is in the backfield.

  • Dorian James

    Okay Dave who goes bye bye tomorrow? Todman or Dri?

  • John Hinton

    This means trouble for opposing defenses.

  • cencalsteeler

    Hard to argue that and great post, btw! I’m not a stat junkie by any means, but I am a fan of rotation similar to the role the lbs have taken on. I threw that percentage out there, but obviously, the way the game plays out, dictates alot of what ends up happening. I like fresh legs out there, and why not take advantage of what our stable offers. In years past, theres been a drop, talent wise, going down the list. Not so much this season. Theres some talent in this rb stable. I’d copy the MLB practice of pitching. Keep track of their touches. Add some relief. And if the game dictates it, throw in the closer (Todman). No sense keeping talent on the shelf, spread the love around and these guys would be fresher if we go deep into the playoffs.

    One more point: If we use Bell that much, Defenses will key more on him, much like we saw last year. Rotations should keep DCs on their toes and harder to scheme against.

  • Jonathan D Worth

    Yeah, let’s not use Leveon up like we did last year.

  • Jonathan D Worth

    How about some formations with LB AND DW in the backfield, just for funsies?

  • Roger G

    Juuuust to make an example the organization should bench him for the first half. He may have fulfilled his penalty imposed by the league but the team should hold his accountability for his actions to a higher standard. Behavior (stupidity) such as his is not to be taken lightly.

  • NinjaMountie

    Yes, we definitely need to keep Bell healthy and keep him around a long time. I have a feeling that Bell is going to lose some goal line carries to DWill now. He better be scoring from 10 yds out or further or he may not do much of it. Bell fantasy owners are lamenting DWill now, lol.

  • Hypo Cycloid

    I differ in that rb’s seem to get stronger with more carries as the game goes on. Seems that teams that platoon rank lower in rushing than teams that have a main rb. Not to say that dw shouldn’t get 1 or 2 series per game though. Bell should get at least 20 rushes per game. Gotta use your best players.

  • slraimer1 .

    And while we are at it why not bench Antonio for having bad hair? Come on – Bell made one bad decision (likely influenced by Blount) and paid his price. He is not a repeat offender – and it was over a year ago. Unless he shows a pattern of stupidity as so many players do, let’s move on. He should be on the field.
    Williams is a class act. How many 10 year vets turn in that kind of performance and then say they are looking forward to Bell’s return? He will be a great compliment to Bell. In addition to loving our RB depth, let’s also acknowledge that the front office has effectively neutralized the Bell suspension 100%. With each meaningless preseason loss we saw all the “fans” predicting an 8-8 season or worse and calling for Tomlin and Colberts heads. Let’s give credit where it is due. Nice job by the organization. Now let’s go get #7!

  • Don

    OK, “Roger.” Don’t make us take you to court!

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  • ND_Steel

    Bell’s my first rd fantasy pick, but I’m hope they share the load for a while. D. Williams has been way better than anticipated.

  • ND_Steel

    Probably the Patriots…

  • Teresa A

    Tomlin is in the perfect situation to teach Bell and send a message throughout the team …that the nonsense will not be tolerated However..he will reward the player for turning his back on the team….Tomlin is NOT a coach….He is more of a playmate…..He is part of the BIG PROBLEM IN THE NFL….

  • John Pennington

    The steelers running game could be the best they had in a long time with Bell DWilliams and Todman.These guys can and will run out the clock when they have to.A good ground game will open up the passing game and we all know what that means.Sorry DRI but until you learn to set up your blocks and see the field better you could be sitting for awhile.

  • John Pennington

    DRI or maybe someone off PS

  • Dorian James

    Yeah, because if you’re not going to get anything out of him send him to the PS