With rookie running back Le’Veon Bell expected to be sidelined for another month, the remaining running backs on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ depth chart will have the weight of the entire Steeler Nation on their shoulders. Bell, whose foot injury is now being diagnosed as a Lisfranc injury again, was originally expected to miss four-to-six weeks since getting hurt in the second game of the preseason.
As of right now, the Steelers are depending on Isaac Redman, Felix Jones and Jonathan Dwyer to carry the load. This will be a big order to fill for the trio, especially with Pittsburgh’s best offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL and MCL.
To make matters more difficult, Pittsburgh’s running game will have to face the division rival Cincinnati Bengals this Monday night, who happen to have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL. Then the following week, the Chicago Bears, a team that was eighth in the league in stopping the run in 2012, will be standing in the way for a Sunday night prime time game.
Last year, Pittsburgh’s running game was ranked 26th in the league. After one week of play this season, the Steelers are 31st in rushing. Even with the Bengals and Bears next in line, nothing could be worse than their 32-yard performance on opening day.
The Steelers’ running game will be vital in the coming weeks, and will be needed to compliment a passing game that’s lacking a primary target in Pro Bowl tight end Heath Miller. Last year’s running back-by-committee approach wasn’t too successful. Hopefully it will help keep things together this year, at least until Bell is healthy.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+