When the Pittsburgh Steelers brought in DeAngelo Williams in free agency, then avoided drafting a running back in the 2015 NFL Draft, the plan was in place for the team dealing with Le'Veon Bell's impending suspension to start the 2015 season. What once was a three-game ban has now turned into a two-game ban, but the plan heading into training camp was simple.
DeAngelo Williams will carry the load, then a combination of Dri Archer, Josh Harris and Will Johnson (if need be) would spell Williams until Bell returns.
The plan stayed intact until Harris injured his foot in the second preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, this after returning to practice from a shoulder injury. Although the severity of the foot injury isn't public knowledge, it is enough to have kept Harris out of practice all week and out of the upcoming preseason game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday.
With Harris' availability in doubt moving forward, the organization now has a difficult decision on their hands. If Harris' foot injury lingers longer than expected, is the team going to be comfortable heading into Foxborough to face the New England Patriots with Williams, Archer and Johnson as the only capable players to carry the load at running back? Ask anyone who follows the Steelers and they would tell you such a depth chart would certainly result in Ben Roethlisberger throwing the ball 45 or more times.
As the team wouldn't likely go into a regular season game with the above backs, who would fill Harris' spot if he was unable to play? Would the team keep Jawon Chisholm, who has been fairly effective in the preseason? Will they look at the waiver wire to try and sign a back who can provide the depth they need until Bell returns to the lineup? Tough questions to answer.
The hope is Harris' injury isn't of the severity which would keep him out the remainder of the preseason, and allow him to provide the depth the team is searching for while Le'Veon Bell is forced to watch his team play the Patriots and host the San Francisco 49ers.
If Harris is able to make his return and provide the depth the team needs, the next question which arises is what to do with the roster when Bell does return from suspension? Will Harris then become expendable and see himself inactive on most game days? Life in the NFL is tough for players and coaches alike, but if Harris is able to return to form the team shouldn't have to worry about their running back depth in Bell's absence.