In the recently concluded NFL Network ‘Top 100 Players of 2017’ series, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott finished seventh overall and two spots ahead of Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell. During Friday’s edition of ‘Good Morning Football’, former NFL fullback Tony Richardson was a guest and said that Elliott being ranked ahead of Bell was “blasphemy.”
Not only did Richardson say that, he also made it known that it’s in his belief that Bell would rush for a lot more yards than Elliott would if he had the Cowboys current offensive line blocking for him.
“If you put Le’Veon Bell in that system, he might rush for 2500 yards,” Richardson said. “I’m not really saying he’s a system player, but Le”Veon Bell is a difference maker and you put him behind that massive offensive line where he can hide… because he’s always had the best vision, he’s by far the best running back in the NFL. By far.”
Well, that certainly is a statement and one that Steelers left guard Ramon Foster didn’t take too kindly too as you can clearly see in a Friday tweet from him to Richardson.
Elliott, as most you know, ran for 1631 yards last season as a rookie on 322 carries. Bell, on the other hand, rushed for 1268 yards on 261 total carries and as Foster points out, did so in just in just 12 games. While the Cowboys offensive line is indeed great and probably the best in the NFL right now, the Steelers front five certainly aren’t slouches and can easily be regarded as one of the top five units in the league.
2500 rushing yards? Surely that’s some sort of hyperbole on Richardson’s part. After all, the NFL record for single season rushing yards is 2105 and it was set way back in 1984 for Eric Dickerson. Maybe he’s meaning 2500 total yards from scrimmage, which is a number Bell certainly has a chance of hitting in 2017 if he stays healthy and plays in all 16 regular season games.
While we appreciate Richardson giving Bell his due, he effectively slapped the Steelers offensive line in the back of the head while doing so.