Pittsburgh Steelers running back Dri Archer really didn’t make much of an impact during his rookie year as the former third-round draft pick only had 17 total touches during the regular season for a combined 63 yards. So, will Archer be a bigger part of the Steelers offense in 2015? Judging by what offensive coordinator Todd Haley said in a Thursday interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio, it doesn’t really sound like he will.
“Dri’s a great name to bring up because last year, just a rookie coming from Kent State, so a little smaller program. So it was a big for him even though he’s got a lot of talent, Haley said. “But he’s a unique talent that I’m hoping we can get even more out of. Now, with that being said, it’s tough when you’ve got the big three that we have in Le’Veon [Bell], Antonio [Brown] and Heath [Miller], and Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant. There’s a lot of playmakers.
“I have people come up to me all the time saying, ‘What’s wrong with Dri?’ Who do you want to take off the field? Do you want to take Le’Veon off the field? No, I don’t want to see him off the field at all.”
Haley acknowledged that starting running back Le’Veon Bell will be off the field for the first two games of the 2015 season while he serves his suspension. However, he seems confident that newcomer DeAngelo Williams will be able to pick up the slack until Bell returns in Week 3.
“DeAngelo’s come in and you can tell he’s a pro and he’s been working hard to get himself up to speed with how we do things and what our terminology and language is so that he can fit in,” said Haley. “And I think that process is happening in a quick manner so far and I think a lot of that is due to him and his mindset of wanting to come in and be part of this and help us get better.”
Being as Haley likes to use a lot of three wide receiver sets, it will indeed be tough for Archer to get on the field more in 2015 and that’s likely to even be the case while Bell is sidelined during the first two weeks of the season. Keep in mind that in addition to now having Williams, the team also has a compliment to him in second-year running back Josh Harris. Head coach Mike Tomlin talked about Harris Thursday during his talk with SiriusXM NFL Radio.
“He’s both quick and fast,” said Tomlin of Harris. “He’s got that burst you’re looking for. He’s got the lateral quicks to go along with that straight-line speed.”
While Archer is likely to touch the ball a little more on offense this upcoming season, I wouldn’t expect it to be much more. The biggest contribution he can make in 2015 is on special teams as in addition to likely being the team’s primary kick returner once again, he might even be asked to return some punts.