Photos: The Best of Bell
Running back Le’Veon Bell finished his rookie season feeling good about his progress and for good reason after setting a Steelers’ rookie record for most yards from scrimmage.
At the same time, he was frustrated how the year started, marred by a foot injury suffered in the preseason that stretched into the early part of the year.
“The season definitely had its up and downs,” said Bell. “It was frustrating to watch early on, especially as a young guy not playing yet. I just wanted to play. It had its ups and downs, but it’s something to go off of for this year."
Being the new kid on the block last year he understood he had to prove himself, especially after battling the injury. Earning the trust of his teammates and coaches was paramount for him, and not something that came overnight.
Bell and the offensive line meshed as the season rolled along, making it not only easy for the line to trust him, but also fun for them to block for the back who could make defenders miss.
“He has a great feel for running the ball. It’s all instincts, which is phenomenal,” said tackle
Bell is working on making improvements this offseason. After racking up the Steelers only 100-yard game last season, a 124-yard performance against Green Bay, he wants more of that in 2014. And he knows it’s going to require effort.
“Now I am thinking in my head I want to get it every game now,” said Bell. “It’s something I can work for and hopefully get better at and move forward for next year.
“I want to continue to get bigger, faster and stronger. I just want to make sure I am stronger than this past season. I know what to expect now from the NFL. I want to work on strength, quickness and speed.”
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Bell weighed in on a few other things, from the no huddle, to the offensive line and more.
On the no huddle: “I like the no huddle. It has pros and cons. As a runner you are running from shotgun. You get adjusted to it quickly. When you have a quarterback like Ben (Roethlisberger), defenses game plan for him. It opens the run game for me. They keep the same defensive personnel out there. It’s a good switch up for us.”
On being used in the passing game: “I am a running back so I love running the ball. But as a runner something I always loved doing was catching the ball out of the backfield. As a runner you don’t have opportunities to get the ball in open space. You get the ball and are going against 11 guys looking at you trying to get the tackle. When you get the ball in open space you are going against four or five other guys, you catch the ball, you have space and you get loose and try to make some plays happen and get people excited and make the other side worry about you taking it to the house.”
On the offensive line: “I thought the offensive line did a great job, they did a tremendous job. I know how hard their job is. The fact that they were playing hurt, my hats off to them. I looked at it as a challenge and wanted to do the best I could. I wanted to run hard for them. As a runner you need your offensive linemen, you need your quarterback, receivers who are blocking on the edge, a good fullback. There are a lot of things that go into a good run game on top of a player who can read the holes and make some guys miss every now and then. It takes a full team effort.”
On the 2014 season: “I am eager and anxious to see how we look next year. We have to start faster. Hopefully everyone comes into the season injury free. We are young on offense so we are only going to get better, work and get to the playoffs.”