After losing starting running back Le’Veon Bell for the remainder of the season on Sunday to a knee injury, the Pittsburgh Steelers quickly signed former St. Louis Rams running back Isaiah Pead to take his spot on the 53-man roster. During his Tuesday press conference, head coach Mike Tomlin talked a little about the University of Cincinnati product.
“I think he’s got a skill set that’s going to be able to help us at some point and I emphasize at some point, because he’s got to learn what to do,” said Tomlin of Pead, who has rushed for 78 yards on 19 carries since being drafted by the Rams in the second-round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
While Tomlin did say that he has a great deal of comfort in Pead being as they scouted him several years ago ahead of that draft, he made it clear that we’re unlikely to see him on the field in the immediate future.
“As we prepare this week, we’re going to prepare with the men that have been here, that know what do and can detail their assignments and we’ll see how Pead progresses in terms of learning what to do,” said Tomlin. “When he’s above-the-line from that standpoint, we’ll utilize his skill set, but as I sit here today, obviously, he’s just starting that process, so I don’t have a lot to comment on that, or what he may be able to do for us. I think all of that stuff will be revealed to us over time as we proceed.”
With Bell now out for the season, Tomlin said the team will now rally around veteran DeAngelo Williams as their starting running back. Tomlin was later asked if reserve running back Jordan Todman is now the team’s back-up to Williams moving forward.
“He is, but it depends on the circumstance,” said Tomlin. “I think that you’ll have an appreciation for that, and like I said, the last time that we played without Le’Veon, it’s a multi-man job replacing the skill set of a Le’Veon Bell. So we’ll look at all of the guys that we have at the position and others and decide what’s best and it might be a collection of men and usually it probably will be.
Todman only has one carry for 11 yards so far this season, but that’s one more carry than the team’s other running back, Dri Archer, has. When Bell missed the Steelers first two games of the season while serving his suspension, fullback/tight end Will Johnson carried the football four times for 7 yards and a touchdown.
The 4-4 Steelers will host the 4-3 Oakland Raiders Sunday at Heinz Field and by the sound of things, we can probably expect Pead to be listed as one of the team’s seven inactives when they’re released 90 minutes prior to the kickoff.