"Ronnie has played at different times, in different amounts, but when you're the starting back and running out there in pregame warm-ups as a starting back, it's a different hat that you wear," said Manning, who is but a quarter of the way through his third season in Denver. "There's no question he has a burst that is pretty unique when he gets the ball in his hands. It's our job to give him space."
Initially, the Broncos thought Montee Ball was headed for injured reserve with a designation to return after eight games. That's why the team brought in veteran running backs Mikel Leshoure and LaRod Stephens-Howling for workouts Tuesday.
But a magnetic resonance imaging exam offered hope Ball might miss only a month or so with his groin strain. The Broncos added running back depth Wednesday by signing former Oakland Raider Jeremy Stewart to their practice squad, but otherwise the team is planning on going with Hillman, C.J. Anderson and Juwan Thompson until further notice. Thompson, a rookie, sat out practice Wednesday with a sore left knee.
"You can't do it with just one back in today's game, so we expect C.J. to do his job, Juwan to be ready," Manning said.
We expect that Anderson and Thompson will be in the mix, especially if Hillman struggles early, which seems likely given the state of the Bronco running game (not good) and the quality of the Jets' rush defense (very good, though Branden Oliver torched it in Week 5). Owners should keep in mind that Hillman has had fumbling problems in the past, and HC John Fox is not afraid to bench a player if he can't keep hold of the ball. Consider Hillman a low-end RB2/flex type this week.
Sunday, September 8, 2013, 10:14pm
Says, "He's answered the bell for us before and we expect him to do it in a big way."
This goes against what some beat writers said about Felix Jones getting the start. But either way, Jones will likely factor in the game plan as well after making a good impression in a short amount of time. LaRod Stephens-Howling looks like he'll play on third down. Redman will likely be a bit of a risk to start as anything better than a flex until we see how this situation shakes out.
It's a bit of a surprise after the team kept Isaac Redman over Jonathan Dwyer. Jones made a quick impression on the Steelers, and even if he starts, Redman should still figure into the game plan. But it does seem like Jones will as well, and this looks like a true committee situation - along with LaRod Stephens-Howling probably playing on third downs.
It would make sense for Redman and Jones to share the bulk of the carries from scrimmage, while Stephens-Howling is used in situations that take advantage of his quickness and receiving ability. Too much pounding on his 5-foot-7 body ultimately would limit his effectiveness over the course of a 17-week season.
The workload division does make sense. Unfortunately it means not a lot of fantasy value for any of the three right now. Redman could get an edge due to possible goal line work. But, it seems like the team can't wait to turn things over to LeVeon Bell when he gets back...
The Steelers released Jonathan Dwyer Saturday, eight days after they traded for former Cowboys first-rounder-turned-castoff Felix Jones. Pittsburgh gave Jones plenty of work in the final two preseason games and apparently he did enough to earn a roster spot -- at Dwyer's expense.
Dwyer, the former sixth-round pick of of Georgia Tech, arrived at training camp 20 pounds lighter, and looked impressive during the preseason. But the Steelers drafted Le'Veon Bell in the second round of the April draft, and even though he's sidelined for 4-6 weeks with a mid-foot sprain, coach Mike Tomlin felt good enough about Isaac Redman, LaRod Stephens-Howlingand Felix Jones to move forward without Dwyer.
This is a somewhat surprising move considering Bell is still on the shelf, but the team apparently tired of Dwyer's attitude and liked Jones enough to make the move. This might also bode well for Bell, who is already out of his walking boot.
Redman (stinger) will sit out third straight preseason game. HC Mike Tomlin plans to look at Jonathan Dwyer, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Felix Jones. He added that the team knows what it will get from Redman and he wanted to look at the other backs. Redman likely won't carry a full load and this could be another committee situation until Bell is back.
Friday, August 23, 2013, 9:01pm
This could explain the Felix Jones trade.
Steelers believe Le'Veon Bell has Lisfranc injury. They are hoping will not require surgery but won't be sure until he gets it double checked.
Adam Schefter added: "Steelers rookie RB Le'Veon Bell is expected to be out six weeks with a Lisfranc injury."
Ouch. This is very bad news for Bell owners. Six weeks doesn't completely kill his value, and depending on the discount, he may be worth a later pick. Isaac Redman was running ahead of Jonathan Dwyer for most of camp, but Dwyer looked good on Monday night while Redman sat out with a stinger. This could devolve into a RBBC with Dwyer, Redman and LaRod Stephens-Howling in on third downs. Dwyer and Redman are only worth late-round fliers until we get more clarity on the pecking order. We've moved Bell down to #49 in standard formats, but will revisit his projection as more information becomes available.
Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell didn’t last long in his first NFL game before heading to the trainers. Bell carried the ball four times on the Steelers first offensive drive, but Jonathan Dwyer was on the field with the offense for the Steelers second possession.
Bell, meanwhile, was on the bench getting looked at by trainers. The Steelers announced that Bell was done for the night because of a right foot injury a short time later, ending his first NFL game action almost as quickly as it started.
The injury is being called a mid-foot sprain by the Steelers, which of course opens the door to Lisfranc. Bell missed the first preseason game because of a left knee injury and then was in and out of practice last week for the same reason. If Bell, who was running a lot with the first team, was to miss time, Dywer and Isaac Redman move up on the depth chart as well as LaRod Stephens-Howling. At this point, all indications are that Redman is ahead of Dwyer, but Dwyer looked pretty good last night (68 yards on 14 carries), while Redman (stinger) was held out.
Steelers HC Mike Tomlin said he elected not to use RB LeVeon Bell, a No. 2 draft choice, because his knee was still sore after getting it dinged at training camp. That is just another indication of the plans the Steelers have for the former Michigan State back.
"He's going to be fine," Tomlin said. "I just don't want to start his career out in less than ideal circumstances from a health standpoint. We have a lot of time to evaluate him and others, so we're going to be patient there."
LaRod Stephens-Howling filled in and performed well, but even the article points out that the Steelers have big plans for Bell. Bell had been running with the first team and seems to be the favorite to land the starting job. Stephens-Howling, Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer are also in the mix.
Forget about the running-back-by-committee approach the Steelers took a year ago that led to one of its worst rushing outputs in franchise history. Steelers running back coach Kirby Wilson wants one guy to shoulder the load this year. Well, that would be his wish
“You would love to have a back who can play first down through third down,” Wilson said. “That’s always the best. Now, you have players who can spell a starter, then you have situational players that have strengths in other areas, put for the most part you always want a guy who is there first through third.”
While it seems like a perfect scenario to hand the reigns of the running game over to rookie LeVeon Bell and let him go, but that’s unlikely at this point for the 20-year-old even though the stage of the NFL has yet to be too big for him.
Stephens-Howling is a scat back in the mold of Darren Sproles, so he could get some work on third downs, eating into Bell's upside. Still, we think that of all of the rookie RBs, Bell has the clearest path to a big workload.
If Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell keeps progressing like this, no way HC Mike Tomlin will be able to keep him out of the starting lineup. He's the real deal.
Assuming he wins the RB1 job, he’ll hold third- or fourth-round fantasy value as the lead back in Pittsburgh. He’ll have to beat out Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman for that privilege, but that shouldn't be too hard. HC Todd Haley said that Bell is a “three-down back," although the team signed LaRod Stephens-Howling, who has been pretty good in that role. The Steelers are obviously high on Bell and they reportedly aren't all that high on Dwyer or Redman, so the rookie should have every chance to start in 2013.
LeVeon Bell won't be handed a job when the Steelers report to training camp Friday, nor is there any guarantee how many times he'll be handed the ball in the Sept. 8 opener against Tennessee. But while camp will start with a three-man competition at running back among Bell and holdovers Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman, it could become a one-man competition if the 6-foot-1, 244-pound Bell shows he's everything the Steelers expect him to be.
Namely, big, adequately fast, durable and capable of playing on third down as well as first and second downs.
“I like him — a lot,” NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said of Bell, the Big Ten's leading rusher last season with 1,793 yards for Michigan State. “What stands out with him is what he can do on third down. And that's unusual because so many of these guys, that's the last thing they can do. But he can play on third down because he can block so well and catch.”
“We've got to get pads on and let it sort itself out,” OC Todd Haley said. What does Haley want to see from Bell? “Just the ability to grasp the entire offense, the entire package — from a protection standpoint, ball security, running the right route on pass plays,” Haley said. “The fundamentals have to be there.”
Redman looked to be in superb condition during the May and June practices, and with kick returner-running back LaRod Stephens-Howling also in camp, it could be Dwyer whose job is most in jeopardy unless Bell disappoints.
Bell is a power back that fits Pittsburgh’s style. He’s not a burner, but has shown good patience and can turn the corner. He’s pretty solid in the passing game as well. Assuming he wins the RB1 job, he’ll hold third- or fourth-round fantasy value as the lead back in Pittsburgh. He’ll have to beat out Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman for that privilege, but that shouldn't be too hard. HC Todd Haley said that Bell is a “three-down back," although the team signed LaRod Stephens-Howling, who has been pretty good in that role. The Steelers are obviously high on Bell and they reportedly aren't all that high on Dwyer or Redman, so the rookie should have every chance to start in 2013.
Steelers RB coach Kirby Wilson on the team's lack of a depth chart: “There really is no pecking order other than that’s how we ended the season. Guys are jumping in accordingly and rotating themselves. There really is no rhyme or reason to it.”
Le’Veon Bell might be the best running back on the Steelers, but Wilson reiterated on Tuesday that if he can’t block, he can’t (and won’t) play.
Wilson said that pass protection is the last thing that comes to a rookie running back.
“Pass protection because there is so much more technique involved,” Wilson said. “You are dealing with skilled pass rushers opposed to guys in college.”
Bell is a power back that fits Pittsburgh’s style. He’s not a burner, but has shown good patience and can turn the corner. He’s pretty solid in the passing game as well, though pass protection is an issue. Assuming he wins the RB1 job, he’ll hold fourth-round fantasy value as the lead back in Pittsburgh. He’ll have to beat out Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman for that privilege, but that shouldn't be too hard. HC Todd Haley said that Bell is a “three-down back," although the team signed LaRod Stephens-Howling, who has been pretty good in that role. The Steelers are obviously high on Bell and they reportedly aren't all that high on Dwyer or Redman, so the rookie should have every chance to start in 2013.
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