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Thread: Steelers hope Bell is rookie rarity at RB

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    Legend hawaiiansteel's Avatar
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    Steelers hope Bell is rookie rarity at RB

    Steelers hope Bell is rookie rarity at RB

    By Alan Robinson
    Published: Monday, July 22, 2013



    Franco Harris is the only running back in the Steelers' 80-year history to rush for at least 1,000 yards as a rookie. That was 41 years ago.

    Nobody is rooting harder for a second name to be added to that list than offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

    Le'Veon Bell won't be handed a job when the Steelers report to training camp Friday, nor is there any guarantee how many times he'll be handed the ball in the Sept. 8 opener against Tennessee.

    But while camp will start with a three-man competition at running back among Bell and holdovers Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman, it could become a one-man competition if the 6-foot-1, 244-pound Bell shows he's everything the Steelers expect him to be.

    Namely, big, adequately fast, durable and capable of playing on third down as well as first and second downs.

    “I like him — a lot,” NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said of Bell, the Big Ten's leading rusher last season with 1,793 yards for Michigan State. “What stands out with him is what he can do on third down. And that's unusual because so many of these guys, that's the last thing they can do. But he can play on third down because he can block so well and catch.”

    Because full gear can't be worn during offseason practices, the Steelers won't see Bell practice in pads — or go against defenders wearing them — until Monday.

    No doubt they hope to see a confident runner, not a tentative or confused one.

    “We've got to get pads on and let it sort itself out,” Haley said.

    Bell spent most of the spring absorbing a Haley playbook that is much thicker and more detailed than any he had in college.

    “Guys here are just smarter, and the game is played a lot faster,” Bell said. “Technique is another big thing at this level. It may not be as big in college, but here everybody's just about at the same level athletically. Your separation from somebody comes with technique, and that's what I'm trying to do.”

    Starting this weekend, Bell will be trying to separate himself from Dwyer, the Steelers' leading rusher last season with 623 yards, and Redman, who ran for 410 yards. What does Haley want to see from Bell?

    “Just the ability to grasp the entire offense, the entire package — from a protection standpoint, ball security, running the right route on pass plays,” Haley said. “The fundamentals have to be there.”

    Redman looked to be in superb condition during the May and June practices, and with kick returner-running back LaRod Stephens-Howling also in camp, it could be Dwyer whose job is most in jeopardy unless Bell disappoints.

    http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/...#axzz2Zt67qnCu

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    Bell doesn't have to do all that much to have a better rookie season than a vast majority of Steelers' running backs. As mentioned, Franco went for 1000 but Bam Morris is the only other one who had a good first year with 836 yards. Barry Foster - 203. Walter Abercrombie - 100. Frank Pollard - 16. Willie Parker - 186. Rashard Mendenhall - 58 (although he did have 1108 his second season).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
    Bell doesn't have to do all that much to have a better rookie season than a vast majority of Steelers' running backs. As mentioned, Franco went for 1000 but Bam Morris is the only other one who had a good first year with 836 yards. Barry Foster - 203. Walter Abercrombie - 100. Frank Pollard - 16. Willie Parker - 186. Rashard Mendenhall - 58 (although he did have 1108 his second season).
    If Bell can get over 700 yards (about 45 per game) then that will be a solid rookie season. I think what many fail to mention is one of the reason the Steelers liked Bell so much was because of his receiving ability. If he get 20-30 catches in addition to 700 rushing yards then it is a homerun pick for Bell's rookie season.

    I just have this feeling that Dwyer comes in ready to play and has a very good year. If he plays bonehead and doesn't come ready for the season of his life then they should cut him early.
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    Hall of Famer SidSmythe's Avatar
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    The guys a rookie . . . I don't care who gets the 1,000 yards, just someone do it please. preferably 1,200 at least with a good RPC along with it and someone who can find the endzone. If it's Bell great. If it's some UDFA that's fine too. Batch?? Redman?? Dwyer?? someone???
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    I'd love to see Bell be successful. But I have a feeling that Bell is just going to push Dwyer to be a beast in the running game. If Dwyer's in shape, there's hardly another RB outside of AP I'd rather see.

    I think Dwyer can help the young OLine because he's more of a power running back to Bell's finesse and spin moves. I'm still interested to see how Bell's game translates to the pro level. I think he's gonna have to change his style a little bit. He seems to like to dance a little, but doesn't have the blazing speed that often goes with that style of running in the NFL.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flippy View Post
    I'd love to see Bell be successful. But I have a feeling that Bell is just going to push Dwyer to be a beast in the running game. If Dwyer's in shape, there's hardly another RB outside of AP I'd rather see.
    You're badly overrating Dwyer. The guy had two good games last year, and he's on the same level as AP with you? Dwyer isn't starter caliber. He might not even make the team. Bell is the guy with pedigree.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain QB View Post
    You're badly overrating Dwyer. The guy had two good games last year, and he's on the same level as AP with you? Dwyer isn't starter caliber. He might not even make the team. Bell is the guy with pedigree.
    I think if fit and conditioned, Dwyer is absolutely a starting caliber RB. He has speed and power that no other back we have has demonstrated. IMO Dwyer either shows up in shape or we do a Jamain Stephens on him and cut him right away.
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    Quote Originally Posted by flippy View Post
    I'd love to see Bell be successful. But I have a feeling that Bell is just going to push Dwyer to be a beast in the running game. If Dwyer's in shape, there's hardly another RB outside of AP I'd rather see.

    I think Dwyer can help the young OLine because he's more of a power running back to Bell's finesse and spin moves. I'm still interested to see how Bell's game translates to the pro level. I think he's gonna have to change his style a little bit. He seems to like to dance a little, but doesn't have the blazing speed that often goes with that style of running in the NFL.
    As much as I'd love to see Dwyer emerge, that is a bold statement. If he can show what he did during that short burst mid-season, and Bell can do what we expect, then that is a great 1-2 punch.

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    If Bell can run 2 consecutive plays without needing the oxygen tank you can go ahead and cut Dwyer right away.

    Seriously, I was excited when the Steelers picked up this guy in the late rounds and thought they got a steal. But now I've soured on him. 3 years and he's got 2 TD's, 19 receptions, and less than 1000 yards combined through all seasons. Why does it take getting to season 4 to think about fitness? That mindset is a disgrace. This guy would have been cut his first year if B. Batch doesn't get hurt and he still acted as if he was a premiere player.

    And then there is the fact that A. The Steelers were openly shopping him to other teams prior to the draft B. They signed a FA RB in Stevens Howling and C. Used a #2 draft choice on a bigger, stronger, more talented, better hands version of Dwyer.

    Why are any snaps being wasted on this guy? Time to move on.

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    Legend RuthlessBurgher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flippy View Post
    If Dwyer's in shape, there's hardly another RB outside of AP I'd rather see.
    For a guy known for making the occassional outlanding statement, I think you've outdone yourself this time, flip.

    I could probably name 50 NFL running backs that I'd prefer over Dwyer without much effort.

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