The Steelers have reportedly given quarterback Ben Roethlisberger more power in the direction of the offense.
How Roethlisberger will wield this power remains to be seen, but he could use it to push for more playing time for rookie running back Le’Veon Bell now that the Steelers have signed the second-round pick to a four-year deal. The Steelers announced the deal Monday, leaving them with three of their nine 2013 draft picks unsigned.
Bell ran for 3,346 yards and 33 touchdowns during his career at Michigan State and will have to beat out Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman for playing time as a rookie. It should help his cause that the Steelers have talked him up as a three-down back thanks to his ability to both pass block and catch the ball out of the backfield for a team that likes to throw the ball.
The Steelers averaged 3.7 yards per carry in 2012, their lowest average since 2008 and a clear reason why the team addressed running back early in the draft. If Bell gives them better production than they got last year, the Steelers’ chances of bettering their record will greatly improve.