Le'Veon Bell hasn't been in the NFL that long, only one year to be exact, but he has experienced something not many players have in his short time with the Pittsburgh Steelers. That being a horrendous start to a season.
Bell's rookie campaign in 2013 was marred by injury and the ugly reality that the team started the season 0-4 and was sporting a 2-6 record at the halfway point of the NFL season.
To say the team needs to start the season better in 2014 might be the understatement of the year.
The Steelers haven't won their season-opening game since 2010 when they defeated the Atlanta Falcons at Heinz Field in overtime. Bell wasn't on that team, but don't let that fact obscure the realization that the Cleveland Browns game Sunday has a great deal of significance to a team looking to bounce back from two consecutive seasons of mediocrity.
"I feel like this is a must-win game for us," Bell told Ralph Paulk of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "We don't want to play from behind, and coming out 0-1 is playing from behind."
"We have to get off to a fast start to the season. We don't want to duplicate last year's start because that's what got us to 8-8. We heated up at the end of the season, so we have to build on that momentum."
Whether it's last year's momentum or the excitement surrounding a new season, the Steelers need to put the pieces of the puzzle together earlier than they did last year by showing the ability to adapt and simply do what works to add wins to their schedule. For Bell, the team is willing to do whatever it takes.
"We're going to do whatever fits," "If we're pounding with the run game, we'll probably go with that. If we fall behind, we might have to air it out more."
The Steelers' recipe for success might not be written yet, but it needs to be written quickly to avoid a repeat performance of their 2013 start to the season.