Believe it or not, the Pittsburgh Steelers report to training camp on July 25th, and we are digging up the '32 Scenarios in 32 Days' segment to help us all pass the time. Once a day we will be drafting a potential 2015 season scenario, telling you why it will happen, why it won't and giving you important keys for the scenario to take place.
Scenario: Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell rushes for 13 touchdowns in 2015.
Why it will happen: The Pittsburgh Steelers struggled in the red-zone in 2014, and the key to their success in 2015 very well could be found in RB Le'Veon Bell. Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley didn't run the football in the red-zone nearly enough in 2014, and the increased touches for Bell certainly will help him get into the endzone with more frequency.
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Bell rushed for 8 touchdowns last year, and he certainly could add to that total running behind an offensive line which didn't lose any parts and will have a year under their belt with offensive line coach Mike Munchak. Bell has shown how he is the most versatile back in the league with his ability to run between the tackles, yet still have the speed to gain the edge. Bell was the primary goal line back last year, especially after LeGarrette Blount was released, and if he is able to hold down that position in 2015 he will have more than ample opportunity to see an increase in his rushing touchdowns.
Why it won't happen: The first aspect which could stop this scenario from coming true is Bell's suspension. The league leader in rushing touchdowns in 2014 had 13 scores. Bell's 8 is obviously 5 off that pace, but reaching such a number will be difficult even if the suspension is reduced from three games.
On top of the suspension limiting Bell's chances to put the ball into the end zone, the Steelers struggled in goal line situations in 2014, and have for the past few years. Bell is a great all-around back, but the offensive line struggles to get the surge needed for those tough, Jerome Bettis-like touchdowns we are all accustomed to seeing. If Bell is going to reach the magic number 13, he will need a few of those on his resume to get him there, and those aren't the team's forte.
Lastly, with the amount of weapons the team has at their disposal, there is no doubt touches in the red-zone will be limited. Even with an emphasis on running the ball, the team will surely utilize Martavis Bryant's height, as well as Heath Miller and Antonio Brown when it matters most.
Keys: The keys here are simple. Bell needs to simply get the job done when his number is called. Bell is a tremendous running back with tremendous skill, but for him to reach 13 rushing touchdowns in an already shortened season will be extremely challenging. He will need those "punch-it-in" goal line touchdowns as well as some extended runs of 20 or more yards to make it happen. If Bell is able to produce this many rushing touchdowns, the Steelers offense could be on their way to the offensive balance they desire.