Steelers Run Game: Don’t Expect Williams To Run Much During Bell’s Suspension


The Steelers will be without their star running back for the first three games of the season this year. That is if LeVeon Bell does not appeal nor is granted a trimmed penalty for getting nailed with a DUI and possession of marijuana back during the 2014 season.

Steeler fans painfully experienced what a Bell-less offense looked during their Wild Card game against rival Baltimore Ravens in last year’s rather brief playoff run. Although, there’s no way that loss can be chalked up to Bell’s absence.

The Steelers brought in running back veteran DeAngelo Williams to not only be the guy who spells Bell from time to time but also serve as the starting running back during Bell’s absence.

May 26, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams (34) participates in OTA drills at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Just don’t expect him to touch the football as much as a healthy Bell would.

Williams has carried the ball an average of 12.2 carries a game. That’s it. Healthy or injured, scheme or no scheme, that’s very little in the way of maximizing production out of a running back.

Most featured running backs in the league average at least 4 carries per game than Williams. Doesn’t seem like much, but when you add them up, that’s 64 more carries total in the regular season.

Williams is difficult to assess as what he might be like as a work horse from year to ear because frequent injuries has kept him sidelined. Go ahead and argue that being sidelined makes him fresh. Go ahead.

But, unless offensive coordinator Todd Haley decides that giving the ball to an untested UDFA in a playoff game was a great idea, the focus will be on QB Ben Roethlisberger and his receiving core Killer B’s.  Williams will get his average of 10-12 carries.

The first three games (should it go that far) will be shootouts for the Steelers – they will need to score well over 20 points per game if they want to beat the Pats, 49’ers, and Rams.

And, that’s just fine. Let the offense attack through the air (which might help the running game in the second half anyways).

Williams will still have a positive effect on the sidelines. Le’Veon Bell said that “[Williams] is a great guy. Really talkative. Really outgoing. He fits into the running back room perfectly.”

If Todd Haley goes for broke and makes Williams run more than 15 carries per game, then we will more than likely see a broken down Williams show up at the most inopportune time – say during the second half against the Patriots.

Next: Steelers Harrison Wait And See

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