Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that rookie running back Le’Veon Bell is on track to make his regular season debut in London against the Vikings this week, a return that some are looking to as a way for the Steelers running game in gear after three dismal weeks.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger isn’t so sure that Bell will provide that boost because he isn’t so sure that Bell is going to wind up playing this week. During an appearance on 93.7 The Fan, Roethlisberger said that Bell’s track record makes it hard to count on him because he doesn’t know whether or not Bell’s doing everything in his power to stay on the field.
“Honestly, I have no idea with him,” Roethlisberger said, via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “You can’t get a read on him. One day, he’s practicing, one day, he’s not; one day, he’s going hard, the next day, he’s not. I wish I could. If he was a guy like Heath Miller that you knew was busting his butt every day to get back there … Le’Veon is a rookie, I don’t know him quite well enough yet. But if he can come back and help us, we’ll take him.”
It reads as a harsh take on the rookie, but it also reads like an accurate one from the quarterback’ perspective. Bell remains an unknown quantity for the Steelers because they’ve seen so little of him since he joined the team in April and he will remain one until he can actually start showing his skills on the field on a weekly basis.
Once that happens, Roethlisberger and everyone else will have a better idea about whether or not Bell is part of the solution to their issues in the ground game.