Ever since he was selected with the 48th overall pick in April’s NFL Draft, Le’Veon Bell has been in the midst of a roller coaster rookie campaign. While hopes were high that the former Michigan State Spartan could win the starting running back job out of training camp and the preseason, knee and foot injuries sidelined him for all but one preseason drive and the first three games of the regular season.
Although Bell has started every game (seven) since his return to the field, his production and performances on the ground have been inconsistent to say the least. While the rookie has emerged as a formidable pass-receiver out of the backfield (24 catches for 238 yards), he is only averaging 3.1 yards per carry and has gained only 375 yards through his first seven games (53.1 yards per game).
Bell’s inability to create explosive plays on a consistent basis, lack of breakaway speed, and the fact that the offensive line has been a casserole of madness have not helped either, but Bell is apparently not worried about his lack of splash plays or lighting up the stat sheet on a weekly basis in the same fashion that Zac Stacy, Andre Ellington, Eddie Lacy, or Giovani Bernard have been.
According to a recent interview with Teresa Varley of Steelers.com, Bell has only one thing on his mind at this point and it is not stats:
I know it will come eventually. It’s not something I’m worried about. As long as we win, I don’t care about how my stats look. I just want to win games. I want to do whatever it takes to win games. That is what is most important to me, wins.
The fact that Bell is not pressing is a huge plus, especially for a young rookie with so many high expectations still surrounding him. Although I and many still question whether or not Bell can shoulder the entirety of the running game load down the road for the Steelers, he has the potential to be a quality piece of Pittsburgh’s backfield rotation in the future.
To his credit, the former Spartan seems to be more concentrated on helping his team win through selfless play than lighting up the stat sheet. As they muddle through their rebuilding process, Pittsburgh needs to acquire and accumulate players on their roster who can bring that type of attitude to the table on a daily basis.
Like “NPC” on Facebook: Nice Pick, Cowher