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Thread: LeVeon Bell

  1. #11

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    Top NFL Rookie of Week 16: Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell

    By Rob Rang | The Sports Xchange/
    December 24, 2013

    Each Tuesday of the NFL season Senior Analyst Rob Rang will identify his Rookie of the Week. To qualify, the first-year professional player must have played a significant role in a competitive NFL game, demonstrating not just flashes of talent but the potential to emerge as a legitimate long-term standout. The player's draft status -- whether as a former first round pick or undrafted free agent -- does not apply.

    Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin reiterated his preference for his own rookie running back, Le'Veon Bell, over any other back available in the 2013 NFL draft in the days leading up to his club traveling to Green Bay to play the Packers, and their prized rookie, Eddie Lacy.

    If the heightened pressure bothered Bell, he certainly didn't show it in Lambeau, rushing for 124 yards on 26 carries, each career-highs.

    Lacy, currently in a neck and neck battle with San Diego wideout Keenan Allen for Rookie of the Year honors, demonstrated the blend of vision, power and underrated athleticism that has helped him put up better numbers over the season than Bell, rushing for 84 yards and two scores against the Steelers.

    On this day, however, it was Bell's consistent grinding -- and game-winning score with just 1:25 remaining -- that pushed the Steelers over the top in the 38-31 victory.

    Like Lacy, Bell is a physical back with impressive size, burst and agility at 6-foot-1, 244 pounds. Though he wasn't able to consistently demonstrate it against the Packers, one of the primary reasons why Bell earned higher grades from a number of clubs was his soft hands out of the backfield. Bell caught one pass against the Packers (five yards) but was a target on several others. His ability to remain on the field on third down and draw defenders helped Ben Roethlisberger pick apart Green Bay's secondary off of play-action.

    While Bell hasn't been as dominant over the course of the season as Lacy, it is important to put his season-long numbers in perspective. Despite missing the first three games of the year, Bell has accumulated 1,162 all-purpose yards for the Steelers, joining Franco Harris and Bam Morris as the only two running backs in Steelers' history to topple the 1,000 yardage mark as a rookie. Bell, in fact, is within 73 yards of overtaking Harris as the most productive rookie running back in Steelers history.


  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flasteel View Post
    Agreed. Great pick and a great game. Lacy also had a pretty good game and a great rookie season...but would anyone here still argue taking him over Bell?
    If Lacy were a Steeler we'd be talking ROTY, so I think an argument can be made for either back. Both franchises will be happy with their running back and hopefully, neither gets injured in any significant fashion during their careers. The Green Bay game was fun to watch, the offenses were playing well and the defenses made some plays, it was good.


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  3. #13

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    Le'Veon has Franco in sight

    Posted Dec 24, 2013
    By Mike Prisuta

    One of the Hall of Famer's rookie records could fall on Sunday vs. Cleveland.

    It’s a Steelers’ record that has stood since 1972 – Franco Harris’ rookie total of 1,235 yards from scrimmage – but it might not see the New Year.

    That’s because Le’Veon Bell will enter Sunday’s regular season finale against Cleveland just 73 yards shy of eclipsing Harris’ standard.

    No one is comparing this season’s second-round draft pick out of Michigan State to Harris, a Hall-of-Famer and perhaps the most iconic offensive player in franchise history. But Bell’s Steelers teammates have seen enough from him this season to perceive him as special.

    “He’s just an incredible talent,” veteran wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery said of Bell. “I think they knew what they were doing when they drafted him.”

    Bell faltered out of the gate initially, slowed by knee and foot injuries that limited him to one preseason appearance and kept him from making his regular season debut until the Steelers’ fourth game of 2013, against the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 29 in London.

    He had to wait until last Sunday in Green Bay to enjoy his first 100-yard rushing game (26 carries, 124 yards), but the 388 receiving yards Bell had contributed prior to the trip to Lambeau Field long since had established him as a dual offensive threat. And it’s worth noting that Bell has exceeded 73 yards from scrimmage, the figure he needs to pass Harris, in 10 of 12 games this season.

    “He’s grown in the run game and the pass game both as a receiver and a blocker,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger assessed. “I have all the faith in the world that when a blitz comes, he’s going to pick it up. I think he’s doing a great job mentally and physically. He looks as good as ever.”

    Bell has produced 770 rushing yards on 224 carries (3.4 average) and has 393 yards receiving on 44 catches (8.9). His seven rushing touchdowns have been bettered only by Harris’ 10 among Steelers’ rookies.

    “He’s going to be really good,” Cotchery said. “He can do a lot of things. He’s a big guy who can beat you with the power game, he’s elusive, and he can run routes like a receiver out of the backfield. You don’t see many guys like that in the NFL.”


    Harris started slowly in 1972.

    Through four games that season, the No. 1 pick out of Penn State had a combined 79 yards on 26 carries, and he had yet to cross an NFL goal line.

    His breakthrough game took place on Oct. 15 against Houston, when Harris carried 19 times for 115 yards and a touchdown. The explosion occurred on Oct. 29 at Buffalo, when he rumbled for 138 yards and two touchdowns on 15 attempts, which was the beginning of a streak that would produce six consecutive 100-yard games, 739 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. Harris averaged 7.7 yards per carry during the streak.

    Harris amassed his record yards from scrimmage total almost entirely on the ground, with 1,055 rushing yards and 180 more on 21 receptions, while starting nine of 14 games as a rookie. Harris’ 5.6-yard average per carry for the 1972 season remains the franchise record in that category.


    Bell has yet to inspire an “Army” of loyal supporters, as Harris quickly did, but Steelers fans have witnessed a signature Bell move: the hurdling of a would-be tackler, with complete disregard for personal safety.

    Bell did it against Boise State, against Notre Dame, against Indiana while at Michigan State. He did it against Detroit at Heinz Field this season. He did it again last Sunday in Green Bay.

    “I’m telling you it looks great, but it scares me,” Roethlisberger said. “He’s done it a couple times this year. I know he did it in college a couple of times. I get nervous for him, because all it takes is one guy to stand up on him and who knows what disaster could happen after that. It’s pretty. It looks good on ‘SportsCenter,’ but I get nervous for him.”

    Said Coach Mike Tomlin, “It looks like a really natural act to me. There are a lot of things that can keep you up at night from a coach’s perspective, things that are debatable. You can debate whether or not you are comfortable with how Ben extends plays. You can debate whether or not you put starting receivers back to return kicks. You can debate whether or not Le’Veon should be jumping over guys. He looks pretty effective doing it.”


  4. #14
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    I didn't know what to make of Bell as our back but after this past game, I'm glad he's on our team.

  5. #15

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    A running play, through Le'Veon's eyes

    Posted Jan 20, 2014
    By Mike Prisuta

    From the breaking of the huddle through securing the football upon contact, Le'Veon Bell describes a running play:

    The Steelers drafted Le’Veon Bell to run with the football.

    It took longer than initially anticipated for Bell to get going, but the Joe Greene Great Performance Award that Bell accepted at season’s end as the Steelers’ 2013 Rookie of the Year suggested he got there eventually. Further evidence of Bell’s arrival could be found in the franchise record he broke, that being Franco Harris’ rookie total of 1,235 yards from scrimmage. Bell finished with 1.259.

    “Remember, Le’Veon had a week and a half of training camp and three plays in a (preseason) game, and then he got hurt,” offensive coordinator Todd Haley observed in December. “He came back in the Minnesota game (on Sept. 29 in London), but up until that he had played three plays in an NFL game, and it was in the preseason.

    “He has developed.”

    Bell knows he has more developing to do, and he is looking forward to being even better in 2014.

    “There are a lot of things that I feel I can work on and get better at,” he said. “I’m nowhere near where I want to be. There are a lot of things I know I can get better at. I’m going to work hard this offseason and try to get better for next year.”

    He may just be getting started, but Bell nonetheless has a firm understanding of where he wants to go and how he intends to get there. Especially when the Steelers hand him the ball and ask him to run with it, a process Bell explained in detail:

    “I’m always kind of looking at the defense, seeing how the defensive line is slanted. My first read is usually the defensive line. After that, I take a look at the linebackers.”

    “I don’t think about it. We do it so much in practice. We take our steps, clockwork, second nature. The ball is going to be there.”

    “My eyes are already on the defense. By the time I get the ball I pretty much already know where I’m going to place it. The defense has moved. The offensive line has moved. By the time you get the ball, you’ve kind of already made your decision where you’re going to go, so you hit it in there.

    “Our offense, we run a lot of (inside) zone (blocking schemes) so it’s not really a designed hole you go to. It’s an area. You kind of pick your hole based on how the defense is moving. There are a lot of things that can go into it.

    “It’s good running the inside-zone for me. I love it because it gives me an opportunity to be patient.”

    “Cutbacks usually happen when the defense is being real aggressive. If you hit them play-side a couple of times, that linebacker on the back side, he’s trying to get over there to make that play because you’ve hit them four or five times for 4 or 5 yards. That’s when the cutbacks happen, when that backside linebacker is trying to make the play.

    “You see that and then you cut it back. That’s when the big plays happen.”

    “If he’s in front of me in a hole I just lower my shoulder and get what I can. If it’s somewhere in open space, I’m going to try to give him a move a lot of the time. I mix it up. Every now and then I might lower my head, let him feel it a little bit, depending on the time of the game. There are a lot of things that go into it, different situations. Usually in the open field I try to get more yards. Usually in a hole I try to fall forward and get what I can.”

    “When I’m getting tackled I always make sure I have two hands on the ball. That’s something I’ve been doing since I was younger, tuck it to my chest and make sure I protect it. You don’t want to be breaking tackles and then the last guy kind of pops it out. You want to make sure it’s protected. I put two hands on it all the time.

    “I don’t like fumbling. That’s the worst feeling in football.”


  6. #16
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    thanks for sharing hawaiinsteel

  7. #17

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    Sophomore slumps hit NFL running backs hard, according to statistics

    By Neal Coolong on Apr 28 2014

    Rotoworld compared numbers of the top rookie running backs over the past 10 years and the majority of them failed to improve from their rookie years to their sophomore years. What kind of fate awaits Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell?

    A few key stats to consider when projecting Le'Veon Bell's sophomore year, as written by Rotoworld's Adam Levitan:

    Between 2003 and 2012, 33 rookie running backs have rushed for 600 or more yards. 22 of them have suffered a decline in yardage as sophomores.

    Between 2003 and 2012, 18 rookie running backs (with 600+ yards) have rushed for seven or more touchdowns. 13 of them have suffered a decline in touchdowns as sophomores. Jonathan Stewart stayed stagnant. Chris Johnson, Marshawn Lynch, Joseph Addai and Domanick Williams scored more as sophomores.

    Between 2003 and 2012, four rookie running backs (with 600+ yards) averaged less than 4.0 yards per carry: Matt Forte, Knowshon Moreno, Vick Ballard and Trent Richardson. All four of those suffered a decline in both yardage and touchdowns as sophomores.

    Those are some heavy numbers, and they suggest, statistically speaking, Bell will likely see a decrease in yards in 2014.

    Here's why he won't.

    You can't argue with history. There's no denying Levitan's research. But is Bell closer to the career arcs of, say, Marshawn Lynch or Trent Richardson? Not to suggest Bell will match Lynch carry-per-carry, but Bell's multi-dimensional skill set keeps him on the field more often, and the Steelers' fluid offense keys off the no-huddle, meaning Bell will get plenty of looks from single-back formations with receivers spread out wide. Bell's greatest ability is, contrary to popular thought, not his power, but his quickness. He moves well in space, and Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is looking to throw the ball from those formations but will check into a run if he has the numbers.

    BTSC broke down Roethlisberger's decision tree recently. This kind of a system opens the game up for running backs - and something similar to it explains Knowshon Moreno's uptick in production in 2013.

    To be fair, the addition of LeGarrette Blount will likely limit Bell's opportunities (we feel Blount will get more carries than many feel he will), but Bell will still be the primary back because of the spontaneous nature of the no-huddle offense (something the team is much better equipped to run with Bell on the field as opposed to Blount). But sophomore slumps aside, Bell should improve as a runner and his opportunities should be frequent enough to think he can top the 1,000 yard mark in his second season.


  8. #18

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    I agree...Bell is a very dangerous back in space...very very dangerous. He has the ability to make people miss, or to throw a solid stiff arm and melt a DB. Getting him the ball in the passing game is the key to improving the passing game.

  9. #19

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    This isnt a huge reach on a prediction. Consider Bell missed 3 games last season, and assuming average production this season, this is at least another 200 yds for the season. Add in an improved offensive line and Bell should easily crack 1000 yds rushing. Real question is how many receiving yards he might gain.


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