The Return of Physical Offense to Pittsburgh

Jared Wickerham

Does the combination of Le'Veon Bell and new addition LeGarrette Blount make the Pittsburgh Steelers top contenders for the AFC North?

Last season, the Pittsburgh Steelers were written off as a franchise too old to continue to consistently compete at the top of the AFC North, much less the NFL. As a Bengals fan, I never write off the Steelers as a Super Bowl contender, but the team was showing significant weaknesses – a once physically dominating team had gone from great to old and a once grind-it-out offense had become pass-happy, minus the positive results. Unfortunately for the division, it seems the Steelers are getting back to physically dominant football.

Defensively, the Steelers should be fine with young players such as Jarvis Jones expected to have huge seasons. However, the worry for the Bengals (and the rest of the NFL) should be the Steelers new running back tandem of Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blunt. I personally cannot think of any two running backs in the league who possess the combination of athleticism and size that Bell and Blount possess. This duo will wear teams out, simultaneously giving Ben Roethlisberger more time in the pocket instead of immediately having to shrug off defensive lineman as if they were gnats.

Adding another layer to Pittsburgh’s running game is rookie Dri Archer, a diminutive WR/RB who happened to post the 2nd best laser-timed 40 in NFL combine history behind Chris Johnson with a time of 4.26 seconds. With the attention Bell and Blount should receive inside the box, it is no inconceivable to think that Archer may frequently find himself in space on both sweeps and quick hitches/screens, a frightening prospect for any opposing defense given his incredible speed plus tremendous lateral quickness.

All of the above presented a lot of rambling about the Steelers, but it is not without reason. It seems as if most national media ranking/betting services have the Bengals and Steelers getting somewhere around 9 wins this season (with the Ravens very closely behind). The Bengals defense has been consistently dominant over the past few years, but will the new Steelers running game allow the Bengals to maintain their place atop the AFC North?

As long as Vontaze Burfict and Geno Atkins are healthy members of the Bengals defense, I like their chances, but this new Steelers offense certainly is something to watch out for – I mean, Bell and Blount are seemingly one=of-a-kind backs (can anybody think of any other RB’s with as much athleticism and size?) and are on the same team? And that team is arguably the most physical team in NFL history? As a fan of a divisional rival, this frightens me.

While I have the utmost faith in the Vontaze-led Bengals defense, the revamped Steelers backfield is certainly pause for concern. Does anybody else share similar worries, or, preferably, reasons why the Bengals will repeat as AFCN champions?

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Cincy Jungle

You must be a member of Cincy Jungle to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Cincy Jungle. You should read them.

Join Cincy Jungle

You must be a member of Cincy Jungle to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Cincy Jungle. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker