Deep down, I doubt there are any Steelers fans out there who really want a three horse race for starting running back of the offense. Deep deep down, I doubt there are any Steelers fans that want Isaac Redman or Jonathan Dwyer getting more than 200 carries in 2013. Deep deep deeeeeep down, Steelers fans just want someone who can ran the damn ball.
Whether Steeler Nation gets any of their deepest desires regarding the running game this year or not is still just a glimmer of cleats and dirt that starts first in training camp. Monday was the first day in pads in Latrobe, and surprisingly enough (or maybe not so surprisingly), fans got a good view of the team’s second pick of the 2013 draft, Le’Veon Bell. More importantly, Bell took numerous reps with the first team. Ed Bouchette tweeted late Modnay afternoon the event.
Rookie Le’Veon Bell was RB w/Steelers first team offense for 4 of its 5 snaps in team drills to end practice. Carried 3 times.
— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) July 29, 2013
I was worried that going into camp, we wouldn’t see much of Bell and certainly wouldn’t see him much with the first team line. Bell looked good coming out of the OTA’s and numerous pundits and bloggers felt that the ‘time in shorts’ was well spent, but how would he do in pads? The weekend found Bell not carrying the ball much, as he was catching passes out of the back field more than anything. The kid has sweet soft hands, and nabbed every pass thrown his way. At the very least, these are good signs for the offense because they haven’t had a good third down running back in a long time – and Mwelde Moore is even a stretch.
Monday was a shot in the arm for yinzers hoping to see Bell at the top of the depth charts in 2013 and taking 300+ carries this season. According to Ken Laird of the Trib-Review, Bell felt good about his day recognizing that the defense got the best of him sometimes. Of course it’s too soon right now to see Bell’s full potential, but as long as he continues to perform the way he has up to this point in camp, the coaches will continue to give him opportunities and potentially push veterans Dwyer and Redman off the top. The assumption is that the coaches will want to see more of the rookie over the vets since they have mountains of tape on them.
I hope he seizes those moments. The offense (and team in general) could use a solid rookie presence to help fire this team up. The rest of camp will reveal all in due time, but I want to see this kid in Week 1 taking the rock from Ben.