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Steelers' current backfield 'night and day' compared to 2013

Entering the 2013 season, the Pittsburgh Steelers' backfield was lackluster and filled with unproven talent or washed up veterans. What a difference a year makes.

Justin K. Aller

Go back roughly a calendar year and take a look at the Pittsburgh Steelers' depth chart at the running-back position. Rookie Le'Veon Bell was injured and missed the first three games. Jonathan Dwyer was cut and then re-signed while Isaac Redman was hardly considered the starter. Larod Stephens-Howling played in one game before hurting his knee and veteran Felix Jones was brought in to help bolster the position.

Here's a refresher on how poor this group was in 2013. In the season-opener at Heinz Field against the Tennessee Titans, Larod Stephens-Howling was the Steelers' top rusher with 19 yards on 6 carries.

Talk about a backfield worth forgetting.

The 2014 Pittsburgh Steelers backfield is markedly better in terms of experience as well as quality. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley tells Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review how excited he is to finally unleash his new backfield in the 2014 regular season.

"[I'm] excited about the (running backs) group and what they're going to show" "Le'Veon (Bell) at this time last year wasn't ready. LeGarrette (Blount) has toted the ball for a high average (4.7 yards per carry) in this league. We're excited for when Dri Archer gets his backfield snaps."

With new weapons in the backfield at his disposal, it's no wonder the Steelers OC is excited about the prospects. How the running backs are used in terms of carries-per-game has yet to be seen, but Bell most likely will be the workhorse while Blount and Archer get touches throughout the game.

Not knowing which player to give the ball to is a lot better problem than not having anyone to do the job, a la the beginning of 2013. To say the 2014 backfield is 'night and day' in comparison to 2013 is an understatement.

My, what a difference a year makes.

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