We shoulda shipped him to the Ravens along with a round 3 draft as payment. He'd ensure us afcn titles for the rest of his career, given the worthlessness of Ohio teams.
Last edited by bostonsteeler; 05-02-2013 at 01:09 AM.
LeíVeon Bell a Ďthree down back,í according to Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley
By Neal Coolong on May 1 2013
It's been a while since the Steelers had a running back who could run, catch and pass protect well enough to be on the field for first, second and third downs.
The concept itself is newish, in the sense that roster expansion allowed teams to bring in specialty running backs for passing situations. That novelty has worn off, and because of that, the once-gimmicky "third down back" has turned more into a limited player who takes up a roster spot.
With the "three down back," that extra roster spot can be used elsewhere, instead of on that supposed limited player.
Willie Parker was thought to be a three-down back, but was often spelled by Gary Russell and Mewelde Moore. Rashard Mendenhall was supposed to fill that need, but Moore took him out in situations as did Isaac Redman. Redman was even spelled by Moore, until Moore was released, and the Steelers rotated running backs as if their roles changed possession to possession.
Now, offensive coordinator Todd Haley feels second round pick Le'Veon Bell - a 230-pound back taken in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft - can stay on the field for three downs.
He very well could. What hasn't been publicized much about Bell is his best strength could be his pass blocking. A player's willingness as well as his ability to block the edge or free rushers up the middle is critical for playing on third downs - passing is often a priority on third downs. The combination of Bell both catching the ball and blocking so the quarterback can deliver a clean throw to another receiver is seen now as outstanding enough to think he could be on the field in any situation.
That kind of flexibility will help a team that now has a glut of running backs - Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, LaRod Stephens-Howling and Baron Batch, as well as fullback Will Johnson.
Can Bell do what his predecessors failed to do? The start of the first official organized team activities as well as this weekend's rookie minicamp will go a little bit toward answering that question.
Who Becomes The Featured Back For The Steelers In 2013?
May 2nd, 2013 by Craig Gottschalk
LeíVeon Bell has yet to carry the football for the Pittsburgh Steelers, yet there is a lot of buzz around the young running back and his ability (or potentially lack thereof) to be the featured back. With the addition of Bell, there are four backs on the roster Ė Jonathan Dwyer, Isaac Redman, Baron Batch and Bell. And with Bellís addition, the thought of getting another back through free agency (like Amahd Bradshaw) is pretty much over. Itís obvious that there will be quite the competition at running back, but who will be the featured back not only in Week 1 but for the entirety of the season?
None of these backs are exceptionally fast like previous Steeler backs, such as Willie Parker or even Mendenhall. All of these backs are pretty much listed as Ďfat backsí Ė a little extra junk in the trunk or consisting of a frame built for power over speed. But if we are to look at all four backs and consider the ability to pull away from pursuing defenders, then Dwyer has the edge. His 40 clocked in at 4.48 s. With all of these guys still particularly young, we can assume that their times have not changed over the last four years as our comparator. Bell came in at 4.6 and is slower than the others.
The days of Jerome Bettis are good and gone. Unfortunately for every RB post the Bettis-era, they have had to come under that scrutiny and comparison of being as powerful a back as Bettis. None have met that challenge appointed by Steeler Nation, so itís hard not to say that most backs since Bettis have been a disappointment in that department. So how do these four rank on our power meter? My measuring stick is mainly the ability to break tackles and getting those precious yards after first contact. Batch is weakest in this department. He did not rack up many yards after contact and always seemed to go down in a dead stop heap when hit by defensemen. Redman and Dwyer, at least in size, appear that they would be evenly matched. But, power and yards after contact were his brightest spots last season. Dwyer constantly fought for every single inch on the field. At times he would drag a defender or two with him. Or, he would bowl one linebacker and then another and then take out a safety for extra measure before getting dragged down from behind by pursuing linemen. Quite frankly it gave a spark to the run game and helped him get the starting role after Redman struggled right out of the gate. We have yet to see how Bell will perform in the NFL in the Power category. He is taller than your average back which could be a problem in lowering that shoulder into opposing defenders as well as being and easier target to hit with that taller frame. His 230lbs. should help him muscle his way, but heís going to have to be good at technique to overtake would be tacklers
If Mendenhall were still with the team, he certainly would be at the bottom of this category. His twinkle toe habit was costly and usually hurt momentum of any ground game being established. North/South is important, but the East/West is key, especially in a zone blocking scheme Ė once blocks are set the back needs to recognize the hole quickly and make the right cut. Redman and Dwyer are powerful backs, but also possess the ability to cut well. However, Redman seemed to find ways to sneak through a small hole more often than the others last season. Bell is again criticized for his larger frame and is noted as struggling with his vision to recognize a lineman starting a push for a hole in the line. He often would run up behind his lead blocker instead of making a cut to get around and break it down field.
Was there a Steeler running back that didnít struggle with fumbles at any point last season? Letís put securing the rock off to the side for now and talk about contributions to the passing game. Not since Mewelde Moore has the Steelers had any back that was consistently good at catching the football. But letís look at some stats from last season. Redman and Dwyer were almost neck and neck with catches. The biggest difference is their yards per catch. Redman more than doubled Dwyerís total of yards, so Redman has an advantage of what happens when he does catch the football. Both have good hands, but Redman appears to be the better receiver. Bell in 2011-2012 had 67 catches, 434 yards, and 1 touchdown Ė reliable hands and often sought after as a receiving weapon.
Advantage: Push Bell
Iíd like to hear opinions from most running backs, but my suspicion is that they donít like to block much for the passing game. Itís a necessary evil when the play action is utilized, and for the Steelers, thatís often enough that this attribute should matter. Surprisingly, Batch is the better of this group. His smaller stature allows him to get low and he is more than just a guy who can master the cut block. Itís hard to watch enough tape to really gauge vision vs. execution vs. result Ė but it seemed that Redman was put into more play actions than the rest of the backs, which puts the other at a disadvantage for true comparisons. Iím going to stick with Batch on this one.
As you can see just about each back contributes in some fashion to the offense in positive ways. Though some might see this as a bit of misfortune, I see it as a great opportunity for the offense and for the running back core to have the competition happen between four running backs. I hope they donít try and release or trade a player before camp starts. Let it all play out and make cuts at the end of the summer. But for now Iím excited to see what happens in camp. I hope that at least one guy stands out as the absolute featured back, so that we can lose this whole three man carrousel during a game.
The article above has wrong numbers in it's analysis.
Dwyer ran 4.4 40 in high school, he bulked up and had a combine time of 4.6