Not leaving Le'Veon

Le'Veon Bell caught 45 passes in just 13 games. (USATSI)
Le'Veon Bell caught 45 passes in just 13 games. (USATSI)


Let's hope the Steelers keep calling LeGarrette Blount a "co-starter." We can't hear Mike Tomlin talk enough about both running backs "getting their share" and each bringing a "lead dog mentality."

Le'Veon Bell's ADP is starting to fall. It's at 18 on Sunday. Thanks to Tomlin, it should drop into the late second round this week -- terrific news for Bell's value.

Pittsburgh is going to the no-huddle, shotgun offense this year. A lot. The Steelers scored out of the no-huddle on their first two drives Saturday night against the Bills. Those drives took 11 snaps; Bell played the first eight.

The second-year back blends smoothly into this offense. He’s slimmed down and looks quicker. He’s a natural receiver (45 catches in just 13 games last year). Blount, on the other hand, is a 250-pound hammer who can’t catch. He has three receptions the past two seasons. In two years at high-flying Oregon, he caught four passes.

When Pittsburgh gets a big lead and needs to kill the clock, Blount is the obvious choice. At the goal line, you can make a case for either (more on that later). But in the no-huddle, Bell fits and Blount is a mismatch.

Here's what we saw Saturday: Bell darting for a 6-yard run. Bell taking a 3rd-and-2 draw out of the shotgun for a first down. Bell splitting out wide and the defense following him.

Pittsburgh tried Blount as a receiver too; his pass route turned into an ugly incompletion. He ran three times for zero yards.

The Steelers handed Bell the starting job as a rookie -- he had no legitimate competition. This year they're trying to motivate him by constantly talking up Blount. In terms of touches, this split will be closer to 70-30 Bell than 50-50.

While even Bell expects Blount to get the nod in goal-line situations, Blount is not a superior short-yardage runner. Blount has gotten 19 carries inside the 5-yard line in his career and has scored seven times. Bell produced the exact same numbers last year: seven touchdowns on 19 carries inside the 5. Look for an even split at the goal line.

The Steelers turned around their 2013 season by going to an up-tempo, wide open offense. They're not going back to a plodding style. Count on 50-plus catches, 220-plus carries and great value from Bell at the back end of Round 2.

Show Comments Hide Comments
CBS Sports Store
NFL Cold Weather Gear
Our Latest Stories
    Bracket Games