Le'Veon Bell, DeAngelo Williams
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Bell and Williams to Line Up Together in Steelers Backfield

For the Pittsburgh Steelers, the problem isn’t a lack of weapons on offense. The problem is keeping them all on the field at the same time.

The team had visions of utilizing both Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams on the same plays last season, but that plan lasted only six snaps before Bell suffered a season-ending MCL injury. With a healthy backfield, the Steelers will look to implement more two-back formations in 2016.

“There are definitely going to be packages where me and [Williams] are going to be out there at the same time,” Bell told Steelers.com. “I’m ready for that.”

Pittsburgh wanted to make use of Williams last year even before Bell went down, and that often came in the form of two-back sets. With both backs flanking quarterback Ben Roethlisberger out of the shotgun, Bell would frequently fan out into the slot or out wide, creating mismatches by forcing a linebacker to drop into coverage. Williams, a capable runner in his own right, would stay put as either a blocker or a rushing threat with a pitch or inside draw.

The clever plan fell apart as quickly as it got off the ground, and the Steelers were forced to use Williams as the bellcow for the rest of the season. That didn’t phase the veteran, who racked up 11 rushing touchdowns and over 1,200 yards from scrimmage, before he also went down in the regular season’s final week.

The strategy may also go a long way towards filling the void left by the suspended Martavis Bryant. The formation usually involves having to leave at least one receiver on the sidelines, but Bell’s skillset (he could probably be a solid second- or third-option receiver on most NFL teams) should keep the offense’s unpredictability alive.

“You could count Le’Veon as a wide receiver, the way he catches, what he can do,” said Roethlisberger. “You put them both in the backfield, you split them out, you do whatever you want with them. I just think the possibilities are endless because they’re very smart players and can bring a lot to the table for us.”

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