LaRod Stephens-Howling brings explosion, ball security to Steelers offense and special teams

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

The Steelers turned the ball over 27 times in 2012. Perhaps it's not a coincidence they brought in a multi-functional offensive player who has lost one fumble in five seasons.

There are nine million ways to compare and contrast two NFL teams. One way will make Team A look better while Team B looks like the Cleveland Browns. Those can be flipped around spun inside and out to (somehow) make Team B look better.

Some are just glaring, though, and can really show one of the myriad ways why a team fails.

In the Steelers' case, turnovers, and lack of takeaways, loom over the 2012 version of the team like a bad omen.

The Steelers fumbled seven times on rushes last season, losing five of them. The Steelers put the ball on the ground 12 times on passing plays, with six of them being recovered by their opponent.

The Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens? They lost one fumble all season.

Jettisoned running backs Chris Rainey and Rashard Mendenhall accounted for three fumbles and one lost fumble each. Perhaps it's not a coincidence the Steelers signed a shifty, playmaking running back who actually protects the ball.

LaRod Stephens-Howling is expected to make this year's squad and provide contributions in situational football - specifically, passing downs and kick returns. He's fumbled (and lost) once in 238 career offensive touches - 182 carries and 56 receptions.

Look at this again. Defending champs, 12 turnovers. Third place and .500 team, 27 turnovers.

Stephens-Howling, one turnover in 238 touches. Chris Rainey, three turnovers in 40 touches.

Rainey did plenty to get himself released. Perhaps there was more of a reason in bringing in Stephens-Howling than just his return ability.

(H/T to SB Nation's Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill, for pointing this out)

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