Even though Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell didn’t have a strong performance when it came to him running the football in the team’s Sunday season-opening win over the Cleveland Browns, head coach Mike Tomlin continues to point to the offensive penalties committed in that contest as the main reason why that was and that it had nothing to do with the former second-round draft pick staying away from the team all of training camp and the preseason.
During his Tuesday press conference, Tomlin took a little bit of an issue with Aditi Kinkhabwala of the NFL Network asking him if him pointing to the penalties as the main reason why Bell had a poor game running the football against the Browns on Sunday is him diminishing the idea that the starting running back should have been present for training camp this year.
“You can sing that Le’Veon Bell camp song all you want,” Tomlin replied to Kinkhabwala’s question. “He’s here, we’re working, it’s Week 2, we’re getting ready to play the Minnesota Vikings. I’m done with it.”
Tomlin was then asked to confirm by Kinkhabwala if that it’s indeed more of a reflection of the penalties before the Steelers head coach cut the rest of her question off.
“I said what I said,” Tomlin fired back.
Later during his press conference, Tomlin was asked if the Browns defensive scheme Sunday had a lot to do with the Steelers offense failing to run the football effectively when they attempted to do so.
“Like I mentioned, penalties and being behind the chains ruins your balance,” Tomlin said. “It puts you in predictable circumstances. It plays in the defense’s favor. They took advantage of it, but they also played well. They played well technically. They have good players and the acquisition of Coach [Gregg] Williams and the schemes that he employs is formidable and I’m not surprised by that. I’m very familiar with that.
“We’ve had some difficult running games against Coach Williams in the past in instances where Le’Veon was in training camp, for example. 2015 St Louis Rams, for example. That’s why I lose patience when we repeatedly cover the same things.”
Tomlin was eventually asked later to evaluate Bell’s Sunday performance against the Browns.
“He needs to get better and it will,” Tomlin said.
Bell rushed for 32 yards on 10 carries against the Browns on Sunday with a long of 15 yards. Rookie running back James Conner didn’t fair much better as he ended the game with 11 yards on his four total carries with a long of 5 yards.
The Steelers will now prepare to play the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday at Heinz Field. In their Monday night win over the New Orleans Saints, the Vikings defense limited opposing running backs to just 53 yards rushing on 19 total carries.