Would Le’Veon Bell have made a difference in the Steelers season

The Steelers ended the 2018 season out of the playoffs, for the 1st
time over 4 years.  Some feel if Le’Veon Bell was on the field this
year, the Steelers would have made the playoffs. Maybe they wouldn’t
have tied the Browns in week 1 with Bell – maybe they wouldn’t have
lost to the Raiders either. But realistically, we don’t know. Maybe
Ben would have tried to make a boneheaded throw into the endzone vs
the Browns and lost the game there. As he already was having a poor
game with a 56% completion rate and 3 picks. It is easy to speculate,
we all do, but Le’Veon Bell has also played poorly vs Oakland in the
past, maybe he would have done nothing again. Maybe Le’Veon runs for
his 30 yrds and coughs one up?

Many people think Bell could have taken Pittsburgh Steelers to the
Bowl, but it was not because they didn’t have Bell, they had so many
other serious issues rather than just not having Bell on the field.
James Conner did just fine, with a 4.5 YPC, 55 catches, and 12 TDs, at
times, he looked even better than Bell. He put the ball on the field 4
times in the season, and some screamed about that. Hate to break it to
you, Bell also fumbled, with 3 in 2017 and 7 over the last 27 games,
it happens. We cant expect a guy running through a line of 340lb
strong men, hitting, slapping, pulling, and shoving then more
aggressive, fast and skilled men hitting them and punching the ball to
not put the ball on the ground sometimes.

It all comes down to the money (as always) – and Le’Veon Bell thinks
he is worth essentially double pay, because of what he brings to the
field in running and receiving. Seriously? There are a multitude of
great RBs who are awesome players, like Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley,
and Alvin Kamara, who all churn out big numbers on the ground and in
the air. Le’Veon Bell you are just another talented RB, but nothing
out of the ordinary, he is a great RB, but to now expand and say that
you are a utility player so now should be paid like a mixture between
the 2 positions, I don’t think so. No one player is bigger than the
team, end of story.

James Conner was a great 3 down back all year with running the ball,
blocking and catching out of the backfield. He played hard, and
deserved all the accolades he got for what he put on the field.
Le’Veon Bell with his history, it isn’t all that unlikely he would
have gotten injured sometime through the season. He has missed an
average of 5 games/season since 2015 – either through injury or being
removed from playing. And now tack on another 16 games missed – simply
because he wanted more money. The question of love and his dedication
to the game has taken a firm hold of many.

Ben Roethlisberger led the league in picks, with 16 – tied for the 2nd
most in 15 seasons for Pittsburgh, and had a bunch of stupid and
mistimed horrendous red zone blunders. He seemed bored and lost at
times, which made him less dangerous and off with his chemistry with
his receivers as well. I think Ben and his bad play is just as much to
eat the blame for their letdown season, with 4 games of completing
less than 60% of his passes and 4 games with 2+ picks thrown. The
Steelers really needed to get some element of surprise this year. Most
teams knew they were passing the ball the vast majority of the time,
as they put the ball in the air around 66% of the time. As they ran 5
wide sets quite frequently.

The porous passing Steelers defense was a huge reason why they missed
the playoffs. Their 2 steps too slow secondary, with just 8 picks, and
giving up 27 TDs in the air could never hold things together.
Especially when facing playoff caliber teams like the Saints and the
Chiefs, where they gave up 313 and 322, and they gave up 31 and 42
points in each.

Truth is, Le’Veon Bell would not have gotten the Pittsburgh Steelers
to the playoffs. His skills on the field are great and his timey and
patient ability to run on the field is great to watch for a Pittsburgh
Steelers fan and as a football fan, but he wasn’t leading them to the
promised land. He would have been a tough threat to deal with on
offense, his extra catches out of the backfield would have been nice
to have, as he is a massive receiving threat, with 312 catches over 62
games, and a solid number of 8.5 YDs/catch, along with 7TDs in the
air. The Steelers didn’t have quite the same fear factor coming out
running routes this year with James Conner, but he did more than a
fine job in the backfield for Ben and company.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a whole lot more going on than just the
Le’Veon Bell situation. Between Ben Roethlisberger, terrible play
calling, Antonio Brown pouting on the sidelines, and who ever knew if
there DBs were going to show up. They have to figure some stuff out on
that team before thinking about SuperBowls anytime soon.

Top 5 receiving crews heading into the 2018 NFL season

As we know, the game has gone in the direction of being a QB league, with QBs putting up insane passing yards, that are mind-boggling. Changes always come around, and we are living through a very explosive offensive game these days. QB receiver connections are critical. This is indeed a hard time for DBs – to see if they can try to avoid getting twisted around on a crossing route or getting “too handsy” and giving up stupid penalties when trying to keep these teams under control with their deadly receiving combinations they will throw at them.
Some teams made some huge and exciting changes, adding great players, and on paper, look to have all the right pieces. But, there are always some trepidations, a few of the other potentially lethal receiving corps are;
The Cleveland Browns
With signing WR Jarvis Landry, and Dez Bryant, they added other talented players who get to work with exceptionally talented, but oft-troubled, Josh Gordon, the team could have a wicked receiving crew.
The Los Angeles Rams
Adding perennial open fielder, Brandin Cooks, who comes off a 16.6 YD/catch season with Robert Woods and excellent route runner, Cooper Kupp is going to be interesting.
The Green Bay Packers
Underrated WR Davante Adams just had another 10 TD season, add in a still dangerous, Jimmy Graham, and his 10 TD potential, with “perfect WR3” Randall Cobb, and his spot as the short option for future HoF’er, Aaron Rodgers…it could easily be a 35+ TD season for ARod.
But, they didn’t make the top 5.
So with that said, here we go to the teams that will, without a doubt, be your top 5…
5. Detroit Lions
With an excellent combined YDs / catch at 15.3 ypc with 2 of their top 3 receivers who can move the chains fast, in Marvin Jones Jr and Kenny Golladay – but Golladay is still just a 1 route guy, Golden Tate is a magnificent slot WR. Tate doesn’t have a dual real threat at TE across the middle, Stafford seems like he just throws the ball in his direction, and expects him to make the play. But they just keep giving steady results.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
With Big Ben firing the ball around, it makes some things better for these guys. The TE position is very weak but they have a real nice thing going with their WRs, and are led by their strong and very skilled WRs. We start with the best WR in the NFL, Antonio Brown, who is a yard producer, and TD producer, 21 year old JuJu Smith-Schuster brings big play ability and yard production. We all know AB is going to be dominant, regardless if he is double teamed or not. He is the best route runner, and to be honest, there is nothing he cannot do on the field. With AB on the other side, the sky is the limit for JuJu Smith-Schuster to get even better.
3. Minnesota Vikings
Case Keenum led this team at QB in 2017 with 22 TD passes. Let that sink in for a few brief moments. Between these three, they tallied 17 TDs between these guys, accounting for 77% of his 22 TD passes, in games he was throwing the ball. A career journeyman QB was better because of their outstanding WR play. They also have the benefit with experienced youth on their side. Target magnet, Adam Thielen, is only 27 , Stefon Diggs is 24, and the oldest guy, Kyle Rudolph, is 28. Adam and Diggs will return to their WRA, and WRA2 form and show why they are one of the best WR tandems to deal with. They can dominate secondaries in every aspect of the game. Now with 27+TD/year QB, Kirk Cousins throwing the ball, teams better be very careful, when they pick their poison.
2. New York Giants
Massive yardage ready to go.
Truly ridiculous skills here with this crew of receivers, with Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram. TE Evan Engram is on brink of being next bigtime TE. Firstly, we have to remember, OBJ one of the best WR in league, with 3 seasons of 1300 or more YDs, and 12 TDs/year average when healthy. Sterling Shepard is a great pass catcher, and route runner out of the slot, as he showed when had 8 TDs when OBJ was outside of him in 2016. Evan Engram is a 240 lb TE with incredible athleticism and unique way of exploding to the middle of the field, and he finds the end zone. And with Beckham getting back to the field, the Giants wont have to heavily rely on the younger guys as much, which is scary.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
Here is the big shocker for the list.
This squad is led by ultra speed demon, Tyreek Hill, who lit up defenders for 15.8 YPC, and 1183 yards, including 9 games of averaging 17 ypc or more. Their TE, Travis Kelce, is the best TE in the league now, can we all just admit this yet? Gronk is no longer exclusively “the TE” – Travis Kelce has replaced him. Sammy Watkins and his instinctive nose for the end zone was shown in spades when playing for the Rams last year, with no other top notch WR to take eyes off of him. Now, in KC, Sammy Watkins will be able to move around a little more freely, with Tyreek Hill taking the top off things, which is absolutely going to be terrifying for DBs. Because Sammy isnt a slow WR, by any means, with career YPC numbers of 15.9 – he also generates serious speed. Hill has already shown that he can be a top weapon as he had 1183 yards last year with career “game manager” Alex Smith throwing to him. It will be huge for Mahomes’ development to be able to throw the ball to these guys in 2018. So expect big things from Hill and this crew this NFL Football season

Who’s more valuable to the Steelers – Antonio Brown or Le’Veon Bell

The Steelers have been one of the most historical and respected teams the NFL has ever had. With 6 championships and 22 division championships. Pittsburgh has had its share of great players evidently. Carrying around legendary players like Rod Woodson, Franco Harris, and Jack Lambert in the NFL Hall of Fame, they have some great proud history – and the team expects passion and skill on their team.
All Pittsburgh has been built on for so many years, has been their winning ways and legendary team history. And they have always valued great players, valued connections – and really have always valued great combinations. Here, over the last 3 years, the Steelers have had 2 guys in particular that catch huge amounts of love and cheers from Pittsburgh and their fan base. Both Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown are both enormously valuable for the Steelers – but there has to be one who is the true cog in the team’s success. Who is it? Obviously with either one of these great players there is not an obvious right or wrong answer – but let’s examine.
The 28 year old veteran – small framed Antonio Brown has been nothing but outstanding for Pittsburgh over the last 4 years in particular. Having individual games of 284 YDs, numerous 17+ target games, and 3 TD games – what is there not to like about the steady 1400 YD receiver? These crazy numbers all coming from a guy who was picked very late – after 21 other WRs were selected – the 195th overall pick, he has been nothing short of awesome.
Antonio Brown is easily one of the top 2-3 WRs in the NFL today. Behind only Julio Jones and maybe one could argue for Odell Beckham – Brown truly is a remarkable talent. His exceptional chemistry with his QB, Ben Roethlisberger, is brilliant. They seem to have a silent mental link where Ben knows where Antonio is when needed, and Brown knows when to cut back to help bail out his QB when he needs it.
In the 2015 season, when Roethlisberger wasn’t always throwing the ball to him, as he missed 4 games – Brown had the amazing skills that year to find a way to get an obscene 1834 YDs. He only put up 17 catches and just 235 YDs in the 4 games where Ben was not playing. The Steelers were still 3-1 in those games, based simply on the threat that Brown brings to the table.
In the modern NFL game the WR is openly becoming the most important position for NFL teams, behind only the QB. With the top WRs getting 90+ catches and 1400+ YDs in a season – where QBs are often throwing the ball 560+ times during the year, it’s hard to conceptualize the importance of the WR position. They are the homerun hitters – they are the game breakers. Antonio Brown has had more of his share of those magical moments for Pittsburgh. They can and they will break your back with a big game breaking play. They have the flash and the well documented diva attitude on the field – where fans go crazy for them and opponents seethe with annoyance – hoping their DB can keep them contained. He has snapped his share of backs this season – with twenty two big 20+ YD plays.
Le’Veon Bell has an astounding and unique running style and is becoming a blossoming game changing player, he has a special skill set that is honestly off the charts. With eagle-like vision, inhuman patience and soft hands, Bell brings a great amount of skills to the Steelers organization. The 230lb RB sits at the head of the conversation as the best RB in the league.
Of course, Le’Veon is also very dependent on his very solid Oline. His running style is based off letting the Oline do their job. If they were a bad Oline – how much would it really shake him? His skill level is exceptionally high and Bell can make LBs miss in open field, those are things that are extremely important and rare. But would Le’Veon still be getting 1700 YDs on the ground? An additional 75 receptions and 2-3 receiving TDs are tough to account for. Also when Bell hasn’t played – Pittsburgh still has a win/loss record of 10-4 over the last 3 years. They have found ways to function and still be very successful. They have almost been able to accept not having him on the field for a numerous amount of reasons in Pittsburgh.
The RB importance is also getting even more significant – and they have begun to switch into dual threat weapons that carry the ball 16-19 times/game, and are expected to also grab 5-6 balls in the air, those kinds of guys are very special to have on your team. Le’Veon is one of those very rare guys. It isn’t just about running the game out anymore, it is about distributing the ball – putting the ball on the ground when needed, and pick up the 4-5 yards outs and swing passes and grab the unaccountable 50-60 extra YDs. Being that RBs jobs aren’t to just run the ball 25 times in game anymore – it makes them that much more valuable and important to their teams. They are more than just the cowbell RB today.
What does this tell us?
Brown is the more valuable player for Pittsburgh because of his field presence and big play capabilities that he brings to the field every week. Brown has twenty two 20+ yard plays this season, to Bell’s 6 big plays, as well as 7 games of 100 or more YDs, Bell has also put up 7 games of 100 or more, but there is no single DB that feels calm or comfortable when staring down the WR from Central Michigan. Brown brings more of a constant big YD threat – teams are always on the backpedal watching for #84. He is going to always find his way to get his immense amounts of targets and teams know the double team is a necessity. With 9 TDs and 1296 receiving YDs – which is currently tops in the league, he is simply AB84 to many.
The skills of Antonio Brown are literally irreplaceable for Pittsburgh. So at the end of the day Antonio Brown has shown why he is the best man in Pittsburgh for the title of pure value.