Mark Kaboly @MarkKaboly_Trib:
If Le'Veon Bell keeps progressing like this, no way Tomlin will be able to keep him out of the starting lineup. He's the real deal
2:58 PM - 31 Jul 2013
If Dwyer is in the shape that he says he is in (via his twitter), I'm very interested... and pretty darn excited... to see our offense. It's going to look like the Barry Foster Steelers of the early 90's, with Ben Roethlisberger (instead of Neil O'Donnell) at the trigger!
Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel
We are seeing good things from each of the three RBs. This position can turn from a question mark to a strength very quickly.
Steelers notebook: Zone-blocking, Bell's patience looks like nice fit
By Gerry Dulac / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
August 1, 2013
The outside zone-blocking schemes the Steelers will implement this season require more than just the offensive linemen to be lighter, athletic and able to run to the edge.
The scheme also requires a running back who is patient, has vision and can cut back against the flow. Just like Le'Veon Bell.
Bell, the team's recent No. 2 draft choice, said he ran the stretch play repeatedly at Michigan State and thinks his style is a perfect fit for a zone-blocking scheme.
"You got to be patient," Bell said. "That's what coach [Kirby] Wilson is always teaching me. It's something as a runner I've always been blessed with. I'm a patient-type of runner. A lot of guys look at me and think I'm a big, physical guy, but I'm more patient than anything. That what makes me successful up to this point."
Bell showed how effective he might be in a zone-blocking scheme with one carry Wednesday in the afternoon practice. Bell cut back against the flow on a stretch play and got to the sideline for at least 30 yards before he was tackled out of bounds.
"That's why they drafted me -- to come out here and make some plays," Bell said.
The purpose of the stretch play is to get the defensive linemen and linebackers flowing vertically to the sideline, eventually creating a gap in the defense for the running back to find. The Steelers want to use more of that this season after spending a number of years trying to stop it with Houston's Arian Foster and Baltimore's Ray Rice.
"I ran the stretch a lot at Michigan State," Bell said. "I'm patient on it. I see the defense kind of flowing. It's a great complement to the inside run game. Teams can't just load up the box. We can run outside now. That's when cutbacks happen."
Bell has tried to be a better fit for the zone-blocking system by reporting to training camp at 232 pounds, approximately 10 pounds lighter than his playing weight his senior season in college.
He still feels he has the size and power to run over defenders, which is what Bell did when safety Ryan Clark came into a hole to tackle him during team drills.
"I wanted to be lighter; I feel like I move a little better," Bell said. "I'm still strong, I'm still a big back -- 230 is still big. So I don't feel like I need to be 240. Looking at my film, when I was lighter, I made cuts a lot quicker, I was faster. I feel better around that weight, so I'm going to stay around that weight."
Hold that praise
Wide receiver Plaxico Burress electrified the crowd when he got behind the secondary and caught a deep pass down the middle from backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski.
But coach Mike Tomlin downplayed the catch, saying rookie safety Shamarko Thomas bit on Gradkowski's play-fake and got caught out of position.
"It might have been what the defense didn't do as opposed to what he did," Tomlin said.
A hamstring injury to backup cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke might be more significant than feared. "It looks like it could be a while," Tomlin said.
He also said there is no change in the injury status of cornerbacks Cortez Allen (knee) and rookie Terry Hawthorne (knee). Rookie defensive end, Nick Williams, the team's seventh-round pick, did not finish practice because of what Tomlin said was a knee injury.
Hype surrounding Le'Veon Bell is similar to that of Mike Wallace in 2009
By Neal Coolong on Aug 3 2013
Another practice seems to mean more attention-grabbing headlines generated by Steelers rookie running back Le'Veon Bell. He may be generating more hype than Mike Wallace did in 2009.
The top name grabbing Steelers headlines in 2012 was, without question, Mike Wallace.
He was probably close to the top of that list in 2009, his rookie season, as well. It seems through the first part of 2013 and training camp, rookie running back Le'Veon Bell is geared to take that honor.
In fact, Bell is probably garnering more attention than even Wallace did before his rookie season.
While Wallace blazed vertically on the field and straight onto the laptops of the ink-stained wretches covering the Steelers, Bell raises the hyperbolic bar with each practice. From a mediocre performance in Backs on Backers to big gains on stretch runs to his receiving performance when locked on linebackers, it seems the rookie Bell is generating the kind of hype only reserved for Offensive Rookie of the Year candidates.
Since 2000, five running backs have won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award - Minnesota's Adrian Peterson (2007), Tampa Bay's Cadillac Williams (2005), Denver's Clinton Portis (2002), Chicago's Anthony Thomas (2001) and Denver's Mike Anderson (2000).
Since Peterson in 2007, no running back has won the award, with the last three going to quarterbacks - Washington's Robert Griffin III, Carolina's Cam Newton and St. Louis's Sam Bradford.
The explosion of quarterbacks in the NFL gives players at that position a big advantage to the award. Considering Washington's Alfred Morris topped all five of the previous running backs to win the award with his amazing 2012 season (1,613 yards and 13 touchdowns), coming less than 200 yards shy of Eric Dickerson's 30-year-old rookie rushing record, it seems far less likely a running back could win that award.
Not to mention if Bell was to repeat Morris's 2012 season exactly, he'd fall 77 yards shy of the Steelers' all-time rushing record, finishing third in franchise history.
That'd be quite the season.
His performance certainly won't be dictated by the amount of hype he's generating, but with Steelers coach Mike Tomlin declaring his commitment to one back who performs well consistently, Bell may have already earned the top spot on the depth chart.
Wallace didn't need a starting spot in 2009 to make an impact (his 19.4 yards per catch led the NFL). He lived up to the hype he generated during training camp.