Even though Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell has already registered 938 yards from scrimmage so far this season, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said recently that he believes the offense can get even more production out of him moving forward.
“I don’t think we’ve even used him to his full potential,” Roethlisberger said this week, according to Mike Prisuta of steelers.com.
Bell, who caught a career-high eight passes for 88 yards Monday night in the win over the Houston Texans, now has 36 for season. That puts him on pace to catch a whopping 82 passes in 2014.
According to our charting so far this season, Bell has lined up outside as a wide receiver prior to the ball being snapped on 51 plays through the Steelers first seven games. Roethlisberger talked about the reason behind that this week as well.
“When we go no-huddle and I’m calling the plays, I like to get him out (in) empty sets because you can utilize him on mismatches,” Roethlisberger explained. “So I think the best is yet to come for him.”
Bell has already touched the football 153 times this season and that has equated to 6.13 yards per touch. As long as he’s spelled during games properly, he shouldn’t be worn down.
“Obviously we have to be smart, because we don’t want to run him until the wheels fall off. But you have to have him out there because he can do a little bit of everything,” said Roethlisberger.
Bell, however, told steelers.com that he feels fine right now and that he was expecting to get the ball even more than he already has so far this season.
“The whole summer I was preparing to get the ball 25-30 times a game, whatever it may be,” he said. “My legs feel great. I’ve been doing a better job this year of understanding when to get down or when to deliver punishment, when to juke and shake and when to lower my head. Last year I was taking direct hits, I’d be real sore after the games. This year I’m perfectly fine.”
If the Steelers are going to beat the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, they’ll definitely need Bell to have a big game. The Colts have allowed an average of 4.6 yards per carry entering Sunday’s game and much like the Steelers defense, they can be run on to their left side.
Bell has already produced nine explosive plays on offense so far for the Steelers and Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said earlier in the week that his defense needs to be ready to handle the Michigan State product.
“He’s a beast. He’s the second leading receiver on the team. He’s big, he’s strong. He’s got great vision. He’s a very, very patient runner. He’s very tough when he gets to the line of scrimmage,” Pagano said.
“It’s kind of like, ‘Now you see me, now you don’t.’ He’s got burst. He can take it the distance. He can run you over. Catch it out of the backfield. This guy’s dynamic. He’s a dynamic kind of runner. He’s tough to tackle, tough to bring down.”