During their second offensive drive of Saturday night’s preseason game, the Pittsburgh Steelers grinded out the New York Giants on the ground despite second-round running back Le’Veon Bell sitting out. Isaac Redman, LaRod Stephens-Howling and Jon Dwyer were the beneficiaries of a strong run push, with Stephens-Howling tallying 40 yards on seven carries to impress most out of the trio.
Yet the winner here is Bell, who will almost certainly get the lion’s share of the work upon his return from knee stiffness suffered in Steelers training camp.
“Obviously, we’ve got some guys that were out going into the game. It was my decision not to play Le’Veon Bell,” Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin said. “He worked in a limited capacity late last week. I watched him in our practice and preparation for this game on Friday morning. I didn’t see enough for me to feel comfortable for him to start his career in less than ideal circumstances from a health standpoint. He’ll be back on the field the next day we practice and hopefully be ready to go next week. I know that he’ll chomping at the bit to participate.”
It feels like ages since Pittsburgh’s run blocking was better than its pass blocking — typically both are pretty bad — and perhaps the offensive line investments of recent years are starting to pay off, especially now that 2012 top pick David DeCastro returns from a season on injured reserve. Next to the powerful guard, center Maurkice Pouncey continues to improve in year four and Mike Adams should grow in his sophomore campaign. These are all great things for when Bell finally hits the field.
Pittsburgh face off in preseason action against the Washington Redskins per usual, this time under the ESPN Monday night football lights at 8 p.m. ET on Aug. 19.