Even though Pittsburgh Steelers starting running back DeAngelo Williams appears to be on track to play this coming Sunday in the team’s home game against the Cleveland Browns after missing Wednesday’s practice with some inflammation in one of his feet, it’s obvious that the team can’t keep expecting the 32-year-old to continue carrying the football 25-plus times a game moving forward.
With the above said, the Steelers currently have Jordan Todman and Isaiah Pead on their roster as backups to Williams and during a Thursday interview with Bob Labriola on Steelers Nation Radio, offensive coordinator Todd Haley was asked about the comfort level that he currently has with those two players.
“Getting stronger,” said Haley. “Obviously, Isaiah’s real new, so don’t have the same comfort level. Jordan’s now been here, he’s been learning the offense. We got him into the [Raiders] game a couple of snaps last week. He’s getting more and more reps in practices. If DWill’s [DeAngelo Williams] not able to practice, that will mean more opportunity for him. But he’s a guy with ability to run the football, so for him, it’s more about just making sure he understands protections, all those things, and he appears to be getting better every day.”
Being as the Steelers currently consider fullback Will Johnson as a ball-carrying option in their backfield, there’s probably a good chance that Pead will be inactive once again on Sunday against the Browns. In other words, Todman is likely to be the only real option available to team this week when it comes to giving Williams a breather or two against the Browns.
Being as Williams did indeed sit out Wednesday’s practice, Todman was able to get several extra reps as Pead was also limited during that session. He talked about how valuable those extra reps are for him on Thursday.
“Practice does make perfect,” said Todman, according to steelers.com. “It’s more repetition. With reps during the week you want to do well, then you get in the flow of things and it keeps going. Every opportunity you get to step out on the field is a great opportunity.”
So far this season, Todman has carried the football only two times for 14 yards. However, it’s not like he’s inexperienced as he rushed 108 times for 442 and three touchdowns during his final two seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars. On top of that, he caught 39 passes for 314 yards and two touchdowns during those two seasons.
“Todman is ready,” said head coach Mike Tomlin during his Tuesday press conference. “He’s been here for an extended period of time now. He’s been here enough time now to have the details necessary to perform above the line.”
As for Pead seeing the field soon, we still might be a few weeks away from that happening judging by what Tomlin said on Tuesday.
“We’re still very much in the teaching mode with Pead,” said Tomlin. “How he performs from a detail and assignment standpoint during the course of this week will dictate whether or not he’s going to be part of the equation at the end of the week.”
Pead, as previously mentioned, was limited on Wednesday with a knee injury, so that certainly won’t help his chances when it comes to him possibly getting a helmet on Sunday against the Browns. We’ll see if that turns out to be the case.