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History suggest Steelers RBs Le'Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams sharing carries is highly unlikely

Based on Todd Haley's previous endeavors, a timeshare in Pittsburgh's backfield doesn't seem like a realistic scenario.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Rest easy, fantasy owners: Le'Veon Bell, barring injury, should be a top-tier running back for the remainder of the 2016 season. DeAngelo Williams, meanwhile, appears to be headed back to the bench, despite Todd Haley's insistence that both players will see plenty of work.

Now, this isn't the kind of article I take lightly; I sincerely hope everything that I'm about to say proves to be wrong. Personally, I would be thrilled with a 50/50 Williams/Bell split, as both players are just a blast to watch.

However, based on Todd Haley's coaching career, such a timeshare doesn't seem likely.

Haley has been responsible for designing offensive game plans since 2007, his first year as an offensive coordinator. That season (his first of two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals), the then-career receivers coach called 324 rushing plays for Edgerrin James. Arizona's second-leading rusher, J.J. Arrington, had just 26 carries. Arizona finished 8-8 and did not qualify for the playoffs.

In 2008, James, Arrington and Tim Hightower combined for 307 carries and 1,100 rushing yards. Arizona lost to Pittsburgh on a last-second Santonio Holmes touchdown in the Super Bowl.

That next season, Haley received two of the greatest gifts a coach could ask for; a head coaching position (he was hired by Kansas City) and Jamaal Charles. In Weeks 1-7 of that season, however, Charles played behind veteran back Larry Johnson and never recorded more than 10 total touches in any game. In Week 8, Haley wisely made Charles the starter. Johnson did not record a single carry for the remainder of the season, and the Chiefs finished 4-12.

Despite his success in 2009, Charles started just six games in 2010. However, he still rushed for over 1,400 yards on just 230 carries. Thomas Jones, who started 10 games for Kansas City, rushed for nearly 900 yards on 245 carries. Kansas City finished the season 10-6 and made the playoffs.

In the first game of the 2011 season, Charles tore his ACL. With the All-Pro running back relegated to the sidelines for the entire year, Jones, Jackie Battle and Dexter McCluster operated in an almost even three-way split in the backfield.

The Chiefs fired Haley 13 games into the 2011 season.

With Bell serving a two-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy, Haley, now the offensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers, called Williams' number 41 times in the first two games of the 2015 NFL reason. After Bell returned in Week 3, Williams received a total of 13 carries in Weeks 3-7. After Bell suffered a season-ending injury in Week 8, Williams averaged nearly 20 carries per games in Weeks 9-16.

Now, there are a few ways to look at this.

First, and perhaps most obviously, I may very well have no clue what I'm talking about. This evidence could be entirely circumstantial, and I could suck at everything. Great, my sixth-grade teacher was right.

If you choose to look past that, you might notice that Haley-affiliated teams typically do pretty well when the workload is split. In 2008, Haley helped turn one of the league's worst rushing attacks into a viable Super Bowl contender. In 2010, he gave a running back who averaged almost seven yards per carry fewer carries than a 30-year-old guy who averaged a little over three and a half yards and still managed to win 10 games! Of course, the fallacy of this reasoning is Le'Veon Bell's 2014 season in which he gained 2,200ish yards on nearly 375 touches. That year, Pittsburgh won 11 games. Ironically, Pittsburgh lost their playoff game to Baltimore because their backfield timeshare was so ineffective.

I'm getting ahead of myself. The success of Haley's system is irrelevant, I just want to know how much of Williams we can expect for the rest of the season. Anyway...

From this evidence, Haley has implemented a true backfield split on just three occasions. For the sake of argument, let's just forget about 2011, because a healthy Jamaal Charles was going to touch the ball at least 300 times that year.

In 2008, Arizona boasted one of the most prolific, pass-happiest offenses in the NFL. With Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald running the show, there was no need for a true three-down workhorse (not that Arizona had one, as James, Arizona's best back, was 30 years old at the time and beginning to decline). Conversely, the 2010 Chiefs had one of the league's most conservative passing attacks. Since even missing five games can't hold Roethlisberger under 3,100 passing yards (which is what a fully healthy Matt Cassel accrued in 16 games in 2010), the Steelers are unlikely to call 500 designed rushing plays this season.

Altogether, this evidence points to a Bell-centric backfield in Pittsburgh, provided the 24-year-old superstar remains healthy. While Williams has proven to be an integral component of Pittsburgh's offense, it does not appear as if he will have quite as much value moving forward.

At best, I see Williams playing like 10-15 snaps per game and maybe getting 8-12 touches. Some games he may get 15, others he may get two. Again, I hope I'm wrong, but in order for Pittsburgh to use Williams and Bell somewhat equally, they will either need to reinvent the game plan (i.e. turn Roethlisberger into Cassel) or cut Bell's workload. Don't expect either one of those things to happen.