A lot has been made about the running style of Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell this season and that’s not too surprising if you’ve watched several of his games. Bell has the patience of Job in the backfield as he waits to find a running lane. At times, the former second round draft pick nearly comes to a complete stop and that’s very uncommon and probably goes against what most coaches teach.
While several analysts are at a loss when it comes to who they would compare Bell’s running style to, one former NFL running back recently said on Twitter that he compares it to his own. That former running back is none other than Fred Taylor, who played 13 seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars and New England Patriots.
“I do admire LBs [Le’Veon Bell’s] running style. Reminds me of me,” Taylor posted on his Twitter account during the Steelers Sunday playoff win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Taylor didn’t stop there, however.
“[Bill] Cowher and [Mike] Tomlin both had front row access to the show. Steeler Nation knows LB [Le’Veon Bell] ain’t create that style. I gave it to them for years,” Taylor later tweeted.
While Taylor’s running style during his career can certainly be considered a patient one at times, I wouldn’t say it was ever as slowed as Bell’s has been this season. That, however, isn’t to say that Taylor wasn’t a great NFL running back as his 11,695 career rushing yards is a testament to that as is the fact that he played 13 seasons in the league.
Running styles aside, some of you are probably now wondering how Bell currently stacks up against Taylor so far during his career. Well, including the playoffs, Bell has played in 49 games and has registered 4,382 yards rushing. If my research is correct, Taylor rushed for 4,409 yards in his first 49 games of his career and that includes four playoff games. In case you’re curious, Bell has carried the football 967 yards so far while Taylor carried it 940 times in his first 49 career games.
Did Taylor have a few great games against the Steelers during his career? Absolutely he did as not many of us will ever forget him running for 234 yards and three touchdowns against the Steelers in a Week 12 game during the 2000 regular season. Also, as Taylor referenced on Twitter, current Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin witnessed the then-Jaguars running back run for 147 yards and a touchdown in a late 2007 regular season game against Pittsburgh. In fact, Taylor averaged 4.34 yards per carry in the 11 regular season games that he played against the Steelers during his career.
While Taylor did manage to play in 8 playoff games during his long career, he only rushed for more than 100 yards in three of them. Bell, on the other hand, has already rushed for more than 100 yards in his first two playoff games with his third one coming up this Sunday against the Patriots.
Will Bell wind up being a better running back than Taylor? That’s yet to be seen, but assuming he stays healthy and off the Reserve/Suspended list moving forward, he’ll certainly have a chance at doing just that and sounds like Taylor is pulling for him even though he wanted to make sure this past weekend that he’s not soon forgotten about.
“Listen, I admire the kid and wish he breaks every mark I ever made. My entire career I’ve groomed and pushed young RBs to be better than me,” Taylor tweeted.