Steelers Reporter: Le'Veon Bell Is "A Nice Backup"

Gerry Dulac believes Bell was "average" in 2017 and won't play much, if at all, in the regular season

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
November 09, 2018 - 8:56 am

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The Pittsburgh Steelers won their fifth straight game Thursday, pummeling the Carolina Panthers 52-21 at Heinz Field. Ben Roethlisberger finished 22-of-25 for 328 yards and five touchdowns, while James Conner carried 13 times for 65 yards and a score.

At this point, it’s safe to say the Steelers don’t miss Le’Veon Bell – and if Bell reports, don’t expect him to play much, if at all.

“First of all, it’s going to take Le’Veon Bell a long time to get ready,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Steelers Reporter Gerry Dulac said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “You saw what happened last year; now he’s missed two training camps and 10 weeks of the season. I don’t think at any point he’s going to get into some kind of form. If he does, it’s going to be right around the postseason where he would even be close to where he was last year. And last year, to be perfectly honest when you look at his numbers, he had an average year."

Bell only had three runs of 20+ yards. Conner, meanwhile, leads the NFL with eight. He’s also averaging 4.7 yards per carry. Last year, Bell averaged 4.0.

“I don’t think Le’Veon Bell is going to come in and they’re going to be in any hurry to rush him into the lineup,” Dulac said. “Again, he’s a nice backup. He’s a nice alternative. Little by little, you might see him get more snaps. But I think if they start forgoing James Conner for Le’Veon Bell – unless James Conner is really struggling, that’s going to create a lot of tension and animosity.”

Indeed, the Steelers had Bell’s back – until he didn’t report Week 1. It’s been a drama-filled saga ever since.

“Ben Roethlisberger has publicly many, many times lobbied for James Conner – that he wants him to keep playing, that he should keep playing and there’s no reason for him not to play,” Dulac said. “Those are the kind of situations that could get sticky if, in fact, that were to occur – where Le’Veon Bell would start getting more playing time. I just don’t expect that.”

The Steelers play three of their next four games at home, beginning with the Jaguars (3-5) in Jacksonville on Nov. 18. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. ET.