Not leaving Le'Veon
The Steelers describe Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount as "co-starters" but only one fits Pittsburgh's offense. Bell's falling ADP is great news for his value.
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.
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