The Steelers struggled to run the ball effectively last season while employing a committee approach to the tailback spot.
Part of the reason for that was necessity since the Steelers couldn’t keep a back healthy long enough to become the feature back. Even when the backs were healthy, though, the Steelers went with multiple players in the backfield. Running backs coach Kirby Wilson would like to avoid that this season.
“You would love to have a back who can play first down through third down,” Wilson said, via Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “That’s always the best. Now, you have players who can spell a starter, then you have situational players that have strengths in other areas, put for the most part you always want a guy who is there first through third.”
Since we’ve got a good idea of what Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman can do, the most obvious candidate to end the shuffling in the backfield is rookie Le’Veon Bell. It might be a tall order for a rookie back to jump into that role right off the bat, especially when Dwyer, Redman and LaRod Stephens-Howling are on hand to keep Bell from being overwhelmed. Preseason action and the first few weeks of the regular season will give some insight into whether that turns out to be the case, but it seems likely that the team will still be running by committee a little bit longer.