As Le’Veon Bell continues to stay away from the Pittsburgh Steelers, there is a small contingent of the fan base who would rather see the All-Pro running back traded, or simply cut in some cases, to get rid of the distraction they feel Bell has become.
I’m not about to argue Bell hasn’t become a distraction, he certainly has, but I’m also not about to think about trading away the best, and most dynamic, running back in the game just because he is sitting out the preseason.
Why? Because life without Bell simply wouldn’t be pretty for the Pittsburgh offense.
Ben Roethlisberger is still the most important player on the offense, especially when looking at the next person in line if something were to happen, but when it comes to the team’s most versatile player, it is Bell.
Bell not only rushed for over 1,000 yards the last two seasons which didn’t end in a knee injury, and has been the No. 2 receiver on the team in those years. In other words, the man does it all, but if he were to be let go, or traded, his absence would be felt in a big way.
Here are some more specific ways why life without Bell wouldn’t be pretty:
Leaning on players like Fitzgerald Toussaint, James Conner and/or Knile Davis and a few other potential candidates doesn’t really give fans a tremendous amount of trust in the running game. With that said, these players will likely be able to run the ball, especially behind the Steelers offensive line, but they would likely struggle in the receiving game, something where Bell excels.
How would the absence of Bell impact the receivers? Easy, Bell attracts a boat load of attention from the defense, and without him the receivers wouldn’t have nearly as much space to operate. Think about the team’s offense at full strength. Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant on the outside. Eli Rogers or JuJu Smith-Schuster in the slot, and Jesse James or Xavier Grimble as the tight ends. Just those players listed there would be a tough cover for even the best defense, but when you add Bell coming out of the backfield it gets even more dicey.
30 Points Per Game
I’ll keep this simple. With Bell, the Steelers offense has a legitimate shot to actually achieve their goal of averaging 30 points per game; however, without Bell there is little chance the offense could put up those kind of points, likely because of them becoming ridiculously one-dimensional.
In other words, Le’Veon Bell is still an awesome player, and one who is irreplaceable at this point in his career. The Steelers are better with him, than they could ever be without him. Say what you want, but I can’t wait until No. 26 comes back to the Steel City, even if it is just a few days before Week 1.
I talk about this more in-depth on the latest Steelers Connection podcast. You can hear the podcast HERE. You can also listen to the show by accessing it through the player below: