Considering it is only the first actual day of practice for the Pittsburgh Steelers in pads, one must be careful when attempting to discern between the various reports coming out of Latrobe. However, one thing is certain -- the Steelers want to find out exactly what rookie Le'Veon Bell is capable of at the professional level.
No surprise. Le'Veon gets the most reps in backs-on-backers w/ 11.— Bob Labriola (@BobLabriola) July 29, 2013
Rookie Le'Veon Bell was RB w/Steelers first team offense for 4 of its 5 snaps in team drills to end practice. Carried 3 times.— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) July 29, 2013
Simply taking the most reps doesn't necessarily equate to being the hands-down favorite to win the starting job. The coaching staff already knows what veterans Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer are capable of, although both may exhibit an increase in performance due to increased training commitment this off-season. LaRod Stephens-Howling may be new to the Steelers, but as a veteran of the NFL there will be enough game tape to dictate his potential. Unfortunately for Baron Batch, the same can be said for him.
With still over a month between this first padded practice and the beginning of the season, Bell will receive even more opportunities to show off his skills. Though he was shown respect by getting the bulk of the reps today, a fit and fired up LaMarr Woodley reportedly 'schooled' the rookie on two occasions, serving as a reminder that there is still a ways to go before he's fully ready for the starting spot. But how did Bell do in his anticipated match ups with fellow rookie Jarvis Jones?
Le'Veon on his 4 reps vs Jarvis Jones: "It was 2-2. The first one I won. The next two Jarvis got me. He kept hitting me with that bull rush"— Ken Laird (@Ken_Laird) July 29, 2013
Bell also did have a decent showing in offense vs. defense drills, but unfortunately for him, so did Redman and Stephens-Howling. The running back battle will continue to be one of the most hotly contested of the training camp season.
ICYMI on Behind the Steel Curtain today:
- Don't sleep on Fangupo
- Steelers Marshall McFadden drawing James Harrison comparisons
- Steelers Jonathan Dwyer transitions from fat kid to 'grown man'
- Steelers linebacker coach Butler praises LaMarr Woodley's conditioning
- Video: Steelers defensive line faces "prove it" year
- Conditioning drills unfairly single out the "big men"
- Steelers rookie Terry Hawthorne back on the field
- Training Camp Recap Day 3: One session only on Sunday
- Steelers training camp: Team gets first look at rookie Jarvis Jones in padded practice Monday
- Steelers role players today often become starters tomorrow