Steelers News

James Saxon Reviews The Running Backs

The injury bug has struck the Pittsburgh Steelers almost everywhere. Running back is no exception. Teresa Varley talked with running backs coach James Saxon to get his overview on each running back.

DeAngelo Williams has been maybe the best offseason move made by the team. Saxon readily recoginizes his positive impact.

The guy is smart. He was here through the whole offseason so he really had a chance to get acclimated with the whole offense. We’re just very fortunate to have him,” he told Varley.

This year, Williams is averaging five yards per carry – his highest in a season since 2011 – and five rushing touchdowns. He’s o pace to have his most successful season to 2009.

Saxon believes Le’Veon Bell, the man Williams is replacing, will have no problem coming back from his MCL tear.

“He will come back stronger than he was before. He is very confident. I don’t think there will be any issues with him.”

And then…there’s the rest. Jordan Todman was added after the preseason while Isaiah Pead was brought in the fold when Bell went down. Saxon broke the two down simply – Todman is ready, Pead still isn’t.

“Jordan has been here since the first week of the season, so it’s long enough for him to understand what his role is.”

“[Pead] is not completely up, but is feeling more confident in what he hears and knows and is getting more confident.”

Todman rushed twice in Sunday’s win over the Cleveland Browns but both came in the 4th quarter with the game essentially over. Pead has yet to dress though based on Saxon’s comments, you’d think he’d be mentally prepared to earn a hat in Week 12. It’ll be interesting to see if the team gives him a helmet.

Pead does have a little bit of return experience in his pro career. He has 18 career kick returns, ten of them coming in his rookie season with the St. Louis Rams where he averaged 21.2 yards per return with a long of 32. He doesn’t have the makeup of an ideal candidate but with Jacoby Jones’ struggling, it’s not inconceivable for Pead to be an option somewhere down the line.

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