The Steelers are trying to make sure this doesn’t become a thing, but it’s clear they’re working to cover themselves in case running back Le'Veon Bell‘s slow start continues.
Coach Mike Tomlin said he was more worried about penalties than Bell’s 32-yard debut, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger urged patience as the offense develops.
Bell himself said he’s prepared to do whatever he’s asked.
“Of course, I want to be out there every play. I’m just executing the game plan and doing what I’m told,” Bell said, via Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “However they plan to use me, I’ll be available. I’ll make sure I go out there and put everything on the line when I’m in the game, and do the best that I can.”
Bell played just 43 of the 60 snaps last week against the Browns, and wasn’t on the field at all when the Steelers went with a four-wide, one tight end set. He’s often been used in the slot in the past when they empty the backfield, but wasn’t last week. And because of the penalty problems, Roethlisberger suggested they might not have gone to Bell as often as they might have intended to.
“We put together 10-play starters,” the quarterback said. “It was scripted to come out and throw screens and quick balls. The third and fourth plays were run plays. When you get penalties, you get backed up. You’re not going to run the ball on second-and-20. You have to find ways to get some chunks back.
“The game dictated the way the game went and their defense dictated things. It wasn’t ‘Let’s shut Le’Veon out and let’s see this that and the other.’ It was how the game unfolded.”
The Steelers threw far more than they anticipated last week, but hope to involve Bell more in the coming weeks to keep things balanced. And with that, his numbers should begin to look much better.