The Pittsburgh Steelers late bye week this year probably couldn’t have come at a better time for the team as the rest and relaxation had to help several players who have been nursing the bumps and bruises associated with playing football. One of those players who likely benefitted from the week off is veteran running back DeAngelo Williams, who has again been carrying the running game load for the team ever since starter Le’Veon Bell was lost for the season to a knee injury several weeks ago.
While Williams really doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down at 32 years of age, the Steelers might be wise to start easing his load just a tad more during the team’s final six regular-season games. Easing that load, however, would include giving a few carries to backups Jordan Todman and Isaiah Pead and Williams believes both young running backs will be up for the challenge if that winds up being in the cards.
“They are ready,” said Williams, according to Teresa Varley of steelers.com. “They have been preparing for the last few weeks. The bye gave us even more time to catch up on things. I definitely think they are ready.”
While Pead has yet to even dress for a game since he was signed by the Steelers after Bell went down injured, Todman has been active for every game this season and while he’s only been used sparingly on offense in the team’s first 10 games, he feels he’s more than capable of being able to handle an increase in snaps in the offensive backfield moving forward.
“I am coming along well,” Todman said recently. “It’s time. I feel very comfortable going in and giving him [DeAngelo] spells. When he needs that time, hopefully my number is called and I will be ready to showcase it.”
While it’s yet to be seen whether or not Pead will get his first helmet with the Steelers on Sunday when they play the Seattle Seahawks, he, too, feels like he’s ready when and if his number is called.
“I am feeling confident as far as if you were to quiz me on the playbook,” said Pead. “Now it’s about getting out there, getting the reps on it, being thrown in live action. I am very comfortable and confident in the playbook.
“The more reps you get, the more plays you get without being coached, it helps. You get things corrected afterwards, but I am ready to go.”
In Weeks 9 and 10 of the 2015 season, Adrian Peterson and LeGarrette Blount were the only two running backs in the league to log more carries than Williams, who has rushed for 534 yards and 5 touchdowns on his 107 carries so far this season.
According to Pead, the running backs all call Williams ‘Uncle Snoop Dogg’ and while that D-O-double-G certainly doesn’t need to learn any more tricks, he might be asked to carry the offensive bone a little less per game starting Sunday in Seattle against the Seahawks. If that winds up being the case, hopefully the Steelers young pups can make the Steelers lead dogg proud while keeping him fresh in the process.