This is obviously a blow to the entire Pittsburgh offense. Since 2015, Roethlisberger has missed four games, and the team's passing yards decreased by 45%, total points decreased by 25% and passing touchdowns decreased by 39%. So all the Pittsburgh receivers take a hit while Roethlisberger is out. Landry Jones will start in the interim. He has a career completion percentage of 57.1% with a good YPA (9.2) and a not-so-good TD-to-INT ratio (3:4). He may work his way into streaming consideration if things break his way, but this is a sizable downgrade at quarterback. Roethlisberger's absence might benefit Bell, who tends to see more carries when his quarterback his out. But last season that increase in carries was offset by a reduced role in the passing game, so it looks like a wash for Bell. UPDATE: Our source in Pittsburgh said that the timeline came from Roethlisberger, who tends to “play up” his injuries so that he looks “tough” when he returns early. Our source said that he was told Roethlisberger is expected to return in Week 9 after the team’s bye. So owners should stream for the next couple of weeks and see how his recovery is going at that point.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on Wednesday morning extolled the virtues of the versatile LeVeon Bell, the former All Pro running back who's one of the league's best pass-catchers at his position. Roethlisberger said to expect packages in which tailbacks Bell and DeAngelo Williams both take part in snaps.
“Listen, we're not going to put him in at wide receiver and use DeAngelo as the running back,” Roethlisberger said of Bell, who returns from a three-game suspension this week in advance of Sunday night's home game against Kansas City. “But we will, I think, have them both on the field and move him out of the backfield.
“We're not going to take the ‘RB' off in front of his name and put ‘WR” – but I definitely think he's one of our best receivers.”
When a team has two good-to-great running backs, this is something that is often said but doesn't always happen. The Steelers may be without Eli Rogers (toe), though they could move Markus Wheaton to the slot, where he played (very effectively, by the way) last season before moving to the outside. Bell could also line up as a receiver at times, which would force the defense to adjust. Williams may have standalone value this year, but that wasn't the case last year. Williams saw only 4.5 touches per game in the six games that he and Bell both played.
HC Mike Tomlin said according to a tweet from the team's account, "You're going to see LeVeon Bell on Sunday, and a lot of him."
Related players: DeAngelo Williams
They get an elite pass-catcher at a crucial time, coming off a 34-3 beating in Philadelphia. And Kansas City's talented front seven is lurking Sunday night.
Bell essentially is a slot receiver, catching 83 passes for 854 yards in his last full season.
Just listen to center Maurkice Pouncey.
"It's going to be huge. It changes the passing game," Pouncey said of Bell, who served a three-game suspension for a violation of the league's substance-abuse policy."
Related players: DeAngelo Williams
Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Bell played a total of 58 snaps together last season. That trio is ready to begin business in earnest. Williams was brilliant for most of the past three games, and he should remain involved in the offense. But the loss to the Eagles showed this team needs more receiving options downfield after the loss of Martavis Bryant for the season.
With Ben Roethlisberger and LeVeon Bell healthy, perhaps Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley can find a way to capitalize on both tailback's talents. Both players were on the field at times during the third preseason game at New Orleans.
Bell is still be the fantasy back to own here, but Williams has at least earned some touches and snaps once Bell is back for Week 4. However, as the story said, the Steelers have seemed to favor more of a one-back game plan over the years.
If Friday was any indication, LeVeon Bell will be just fine.
Saying that he felt "great," per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, Bell added: "I can only imagine how I'll feel in a month."
Bell faces a three-game suspension to open the season, but is slated to return in Week 4 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Shaking off a fumble he attributed to "rust," Bell hauled down five passes for 37 yards and rushed for another 21 yards on three attempts against New Orleans. We saw flashes of Bell's juking ability on a 13-yard catch on Pittsburgh's first drive, the story added.
The Steelers’ battery of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and LeVeon Bell could take the field together Friday night in New Orleans. Precedent says Big Ben and Brown will play at least a few series together, unless coach Mike Tomlin heeds caution.
The wild card is Bell, who has yet to be tackled to the ground in live action since tearing multiple ligaments in his knee on Nov. 1 against Cincinnati. Bell can’t start his season until Week 4 because of a three-game ban for missed drug tests, so the Steelers might want to get him a few reps before then, especially considering how good he's looked in practice work. He's been a full participant every day, though he carries the ball with the proverbial "bubble" designated for star players, especially ones coming off an injury.
Steelers running back LeVeon Bell has been suspended three games by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
The running back was facing a four-game suspension but appealed to the league. Though Bell will be eligible to practice and play with the team through the preseason, he will miss the team’s first three regular-season games against the Washington Redskins, Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles.
This will boost Bell's projections, but he's still a little dicey as a 1st round pick since he'll miss the first three games of the year. He has extra value in leagues where more than half the teams make the playoffs. He's also recovering from MCL and PCL tears but recently declared himself 100 percent, for what it's worth.
Expect LeVeon Bell, whether he plays 12 or 16 games, to be heavily involved in the passing game, particularly in the red zone.
The story was about the status of Ladarius Green, but Bell is mentioned as a possible way the Steelers will adapt should Green not be ready when the season starts. We project Bell for 52 receptions and 477 yards this season for 12 games. However, should Green have to miss the start, or a part, or all of the season, this could drive Bell's value a little higher.
And he wants more.
The fourth-year player has seen a sizable workload in camp.
"As long as my knee's not swelling or having any setbacks, I will continue to do more," said Bell, who tore his medial collateral and posterior cruciate ligaments in November. "My first day running, March 1, I had a vision I'd be ready around this time. This is my goal to be out here ready to compete."
Of course the concern about Bell is his pending four-game suspension.
While Bell awaits the results of an appeal for missed drug tests - he has declined comment on the dynamics of the case. Aside from that, the story said he's looked like the Bell from 2014. It also said the Steelers may opt to keep him out of preseason games.
The Steelers surely are concerned with the possibility of not having running back LeVeon Bell for the first month of the season, and for good reason, as he continues to wait to hear the results of the the appeal of his four-game suspension for violation the NFL's drug policy.
As for being concerned about Bell's surgically repaired knee, there are far fewer worries, and that's been solidified through the first three days of training camp at St. Vincent College.
Bell is less than nine months removed from an ugly knee injury he suffered in November against the Bengals that tore his his MCL and PCL, requiring surgery and keeping him out of the final two months of the season.
Through the early stages of camp, you'd be hard-pressed to tell that Bell is recovering from any injury let alone a severe knee injury. You can lump offensive coordinator Todd Haley into that group of being pleasantly surprised, the story all said. That's good news for potential owners and it looks like Bell's injury recovery isn't a cause for a lot of concern. But as the story said, a possible four-game suspension awaits, and we've dropped Bell down our list as a result.
Bell told the media Thursday he plans to appeal the suspension "sometime in August" and that he was notified of a missed test and his suspension in March, according to Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin confirmed that Bell's appeal will not be heard until the second week of August.
"I don't want to be a distraction to my teammates or to Steelers Nation," Bell added. "So I'm just going to keep moving forward and let everything handle itself."
The appeals process is bound to interrupt Bell's rehab from his season-ending knee injury, but the running back added he was confident that he'd be ready for the start of the season, whether or not he's suspended. There have been lots of reports about why Bell missed the test, one of which he changed his cell number.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports there's "a strong sense" the LeVeon Bell suspension will stand, adding that "none in the know believes Bell has a strong chance to win the appeal."
Per Stan Savran of Pittsburgh's 970 ESPN radio, Bell claims he changed his cell phone number and thus wasn't notified of when he was to be tested. However, it's unclear if that defense would be sufficient. Florio suggests Bell might be required to notify the league of any change in contact info, which would put the responsibility back on him.
ESPN's John Clayton noted Bell has a chance to get out of the suspension if the drug tester can't "show he made good effort to contact" Bell, but added that it will still be hard to win the appeal. From a fantasy standpoint, Bell owners will want to make sure they have DeAngelo Williams.
Despite being one of the best bargains in the league, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown will report to training camp Thursday, hopeful and confident that his contract will be addressed before the start of the regular season, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN.
Having Brown in training camp will be one less headache for a Steelers team that already has running back LeVeon Bell facing a four-game suspension and wide receiver Martavis Bryant serving a one-year suspension.
But at some point, Pittsburgh likely will be asked to consider options to compensate Brown like one of the top receivers in the game that he has proved to be, per a source.
Brown is obviously a top fantasy pick in all formats, but it looks like owners won't have to worry about a holdout situation. He's coming off a 136-catch season and is schedule to make 6.25 million this year. He still has two years left on his deal.
There are three stages of intervention in the NFL, and before last week, LeVeon Bell was believed to be in Stage 2.
That was because Bell was suspended three games, later reduced to two games, to start the 2015 season. That ban was the result of Bell's marijuana arrest in the North Hills in August 2014. Coincidentally, that arrest was recently expunged from his legal record after he completed his 15-month probation.
Depending on your perspective, the good news for Bell is that he's only in trouble with the league this time. But another screw-up, another failed or missed test, and Bell is in Martavis Bryant territory, or Stage 3 of intervention.
The story nicely describes all three stages on how NFL drug testing works. As for Stage 3, the author said: After serving a suspension, players are placed in Stage 3, which unless the medical director chooses to discharge a player from the program, lasts the remainder of a player's career. Like stages 1-2, players are prescribed a treatment plan though testing is now random. A failed test will result in a one-year ban, unless the suspension is for marijuana, in which case it will be 10 games. Bryant was suspended for one year, not 10 games, for multiple failed or missing drug tests.
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