The Steelers have released Archer. Meanwhile, the Steelers claimed WR Jacoby Jones to bolster their return game, at Archer's expense, with the team's backfield now comprised of DeAngelo Williams, Jordan Todman and newcomer Isaiah Pead.
Archer returned two kicks for 34 yards in Sunday's loss to the Bengals. Though fellow RB Le'Veon Bell suffered a knee injury in the game that threatens his availability for the rest of the season, it was DeAngelo Williams who handled all the Steelers' carries once Bell exited the contest. That siad, it's possible that Archer and/or Jordan Todman could factor in as change-of-pace options in the team's offense in the coming weeks.
Steelers speedster Dri Archer got 17 offensive touches as a rookie last season, rushing 10 times for 40 yards and catching seven passes for 23 yards. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley called Archer "a unique talent" and said he wants to get him the ball more often in 2015, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "He is probably the fastest guy on the field wherever we go," Haley said. "At the same time he is in a little bit of a difficult spot because we have a guy in Le'Veon [Bell] who is capable and you really want on the field as much as possible. In a lot of places where you have running backs coming off the field, Le'Veon tends to get stronger as the games goes on. You hate to ever take him off the field. I am a big believer of putting your best 11 guys on the field as many snaps as you can. "That put Dri in a little big of a difficult spot being a rookie coming from a little smaller school. When you get guys like that, sometimes the transition time is a little longer than we all would like, himself included. I really feel with a year under his belt, even though there wasn't great production anywhere; a year, plus another offseason and training camp, a full room in an NFL weight room, I think Dri will come back more experienced and still has that outstanding characteristic of speed. "The important thing is that we do have a role for him if he is going to have a helmet on Sundays and he gets his five and six touches a game. Any one of those plays he has the chance to take it to the house with that speed. Let's just have a little patience and let him continue to develop and we will definitely have a plan to get him touches throughout the season."
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said it's unrealistic to expect a lot from newly-signed running back Ben Tate in Saturday's playoff game against the Ravens. "I don't know how you could come in in a couple of days and learn a new offense," Roethlisberger told ESPN.com. "I think if we can put together a specific package, a few runs here, a few passes there, I think he could help us if we need him to." If starter Le'Veon Bell (knee) can't play, rookie running back Josh Harris would start and be spelled by rookie Dri Archer and Tate. Harris, an undrafted free agent out of Wake Forest, rushed five times for 7 yards Week 17 but had a 59-yard run called back on a penalty. The Steelers are 3-point home favorites.
After walking down the hallway with no discernible limp, Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell stood by his locker Wednesday and told NFL Network, "I feel great." But when asked if that meant he'd play Saturday against Baltimore, Bell replied: "I'm just going to take it day by day." The Steelers are operating under the assumption Bell won't be available due to his hyperextended knee, though coach Mike Tomlin said the team will "leave the light on" for him. Bell reportedly could barely walk Monday, so he's showing progress. Pittsburgh signed free agent running back Ben Tate on Tuesday, adding him to the backfield mix with Josh Harris and rookie Dri Archer. The Steelers are 3-point home favorites Saturday night.
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