Steeler Nation, over the past few seasons there has been much talk on how this will be the season that the Pittsburgh Steelers will reestablish their running game. Yes there was talk of a new emphasis on the running game, of new blocking schemes, new offensive line coaches and all of this with a stable of mostly mediocre running backs.
But the truth of the matter is the Steelers as a running team have fell steadily the past three season. The 2011 Pittsburgh Steelers running game ranked 14th in the NFL running for an average per rush of 4.4 yards a carry, averaging 118.9 yards a game and 13 rushing touchdowns.
The following season in 2012 the Steelers rank 26th with a 3.7 yard average per carry and averaged less than 100 yards rushing per game at 96.1 and a lowly 8 rushing touchdowns.
In 2013 things didn’t get better but even worse. The Steelers as a team averaged 3.5 yards a carry, only 86.4 a game and 9 total touchdowns.
Now don’t get me wrong, there was some positives to come out of the 2013 running game. Le’Veon Bell set a new Steeler rookie record with a total of 1259 yards from scrimmage. Bell had a total of 860 yards rushing and 8 rushing touchdowns in only 13 games.The emergence of rookie runner Le’Veon Bell, especially toward the end of the season gives the Steelers potential for a real game changer for years to come.
But in today’s NFL you need at least two starter capable running backs with the ability to give you 20-25 quality carries a game if need be. This is a luxury the Steelers have been missing for some time now.
That may have changed with the free agent signing of running back LeGarrette Blount .
Blount is 27 6-0 250 and runs with authority and bruit strength. He has a career average of 4.7 yards a carry with 2711 total rushing yards and 20 rushing touchdowns. Last season with the New England Patriots, Blount ran for for 772 yards for a 5 yard average and 7 touchdowns. Blount really showed up for the Patriots in the playoffs against the Indianapolis Colts. Blount ran for 4 touchdowns setting a Patriot record for most rushing touchdowns in a playoff game by a Patriot running back. He finished the game with 24 carries for 166 yards and 4 touchdowns leading the Patroits to victory 43-22. So you can see that Blount has the ability to make a major impact.
The Steelers may be able to do more than talk about establishing a running game now that they have the duo of Bell and Blount.
Make no mistake Le’Veon Bell is still the main running back in the Steelers plans, but LeGarrette Blount now give the Steelers the potential for a great one-two punch combination, a key ingredient that the running game has been sorely missing for some time.