Of the 2,215 total yards from scrimmage that Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell registered last season, 618 of them came on 18 plays of 20 yards or more. While that does sound like a high number, only 8 of those explosive plays were runs and Bell said recently that he helps to improve on that number in 2015 and he went as far as to say why.
“It’s making the defense play all of their gaps, play honest. If they don’t, if they get a little greedy, you have to make them pay,” Bell said,” according to Teresa Varley of steelers.com. “That’s when the big runs come. You see a defender try to make a tackle and he is out of his gap. I have to make a defense pay every time for that. When they make that mistake, and everybody is human, when one of them make a mistake I have to make them pay.”
In case you’re curious, Bell has 12 career runs of 20 yards or more and at some point during his time in Pittsburgh he should take over the franchise lead in that stat. While I haven’t confirmed it, it currently looks like former Steelers running back Willie Parker holds the franchise record for runs of 20 yards or more with 40 of them. Also, Jerome Bettis had 30 such runs during his career in Pittsburgh with his long being 46 yards.
In order to break more long runs in 2015, Bell must stay healthy and it sounds like the right knee he hyperextended in the regular-season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals will be ready for contact once training camp in Latrobe gets underway.
“I am feeling good. I am feeling as good as I can remember,” Bell said. “Week 17 last year was a scary moment when I hurt my knee. My knee is close to 100 percent. I am excited about my progress and how my body has been holding up after all of the carries I got last year and I am ready to go.”