Schwartz: The Public Overvalues Running Backs

Geoff Schwartz has blocked for Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles but maintains that running backs are plug-and-play commodities

The DA Show
November 01, 2018 - 12:02 pm

USA Today Images


Le’Veon Bell was going to report for Week 1. Then he was going to report a month into the season. Then he was going to report after the bye. Then he was going to report after the trade deadline.

Still no Bell in Pittsburgh.

What’s his end game here?

“Well, he lost this game,” Geoff Schwartz said on The DA Show. “His game was, ‘I’m going to find a way to hold out, I’m going to make the Steelers understand how valuable I am and make them pay for not paying me’ – and it’s backfired because James Conner is on pace to have a better season than Le’Veon Bell did last year. The Steelers obviously haven’t missed him very much. His end game is, ‘I might as well hang out now and just sign Week 10 when you have to and come on in.’ He lost, man. He tried. He obviously tried to use what leverage he had, and it backfired. It didn’t work.”

Indeed, Conner has rushed 127 times for 599 yards (4.7 yards per carry) and nine touchdowns this season. He’s also caught 31 balls for 323 yards. He’s on pace for 1,800+ total yards and 18 touchdowns.

Which begs the question: What will the Steelers do with Bell upon his return?

“It’s very interesting,” Schwartz said. “With Le’Veon Bell’s talent, I don’t think you can just not play him. But I don’t know how you get away from James Conner. He’s getting better as the season goes on. I think you address Le’Veon Bell, you play him and maybe you find some packages to put him in. But I think it would be hard to say no to playing James Conner. I don’t know how you would decide to move on from him – unless the veterans on offense said, ‘Hey, coach, we want to play Le’Veon Bell when he comes back.’ But right now, things are going well for them. They’re starting to play good football again. If they win this weekend in Baltimore, they’re in charge of the North again. I don’t know how you would play him.”

Schwartz believes this saga should be a lesson to NFL general managers, coaches, analysts – and fans.

“I think the public generally overvalues running backs,” he said. “Look, I played with great ones. I played with Adrian Peterson, who’s going to be a Hall of Famer, who’s having a fantastic year this year. Jamaal Charles, DeAngelo Williams – they’re fantastic players, but you can find a Phillip Lindsay, a Matt Breida, all these guys, a Kareem Hunt in the third round, Kamara – all these guys out of the first round. You can find running backs kind of whenever and plug them into your offense. I think it’s another example of running backs being overvalued by the public. And look, they’re overvalued by NFL analysts. I don’t get it.”