Steelers notebook: Rookie RB Bell sits with knee soreness
By Mark Kaboly
Published: Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013, 10:57 p.m.
Mike Tomlin wanted to see rookie running back Le'Veon Bell perform with the first team during Saturday's first preseason game.
But the Steelers coach would rather see Bell healthy.
Tomlin unexpectedly scratched Bell from the lineup because of a sore knee that has been bothering Bell for the past week. Isaac Redman got the start, and LaRod Stephens-Howling carried the bulk of the load with the first team.
According to team spokesman Burt Lauten, Tomlin said he didn't see enough of Bell during practice Thursday or Friday to allow him to play. Tomlin said there will be time to evaluate Bell in game action during the three remaining preseason games, Lauten said.
Reduced zone blocking
So much for the Steelers seeing how far their new zone-blocking scheme has come during two weeks of training camp.
With the first team in the game, the Steelers used zone blocking on only three of their 10 running plays, with one coming back because of a holding penalty.
They gained 11 yards on two runs — six by Isaac Redman on the first play of the game and five by LaRod Stephens-Howling. The Steelers used their power scheme seven times with the first team.
Altogether in the first half, the Steelers ran the zone five times for 15 yards and the power scheme 11 times for 57 yards. There was one scramble.
Spaeth out indefinitely
Tight end Matt Spaeth had surgery Saturday after being diagnosed with a Lisfranc (midfoot) injury and is out indefinitely.
“When you talk about potential timetables of his return, I haven't been privy to that over that last 24 hours,” Tomlin said.
Spaeth could be a candidate for the new injured reserve rule set in place last year that would allow one player who suffered a serious training camp injury to be placed on injured reserve/designated to return following the final cut.
The Steelers used the rule on guard David DeCastro last year.
Signs of the times
Two newly constructed large signs bracket the scoreboard on the south end zone of Heinz Field advertising Pepsi and Peoples Natural Gas.
“We have had a tremendous relationship with Peoples Natural Gas, which is a Pittsburgh-based company that has been a partner with since 2011, and we are thrilled to extend the relationship to include our exciting new projects at Heinz Field,” Art Rooney II said.
New TE gets start
Tight end Michael Palmer started Saturday against the Giants, a day after the Steelers signed him.
Palmer had been cut by Seattle.
Palmer has 43 career starts in the NFL, all with Atlanta. The Steelers also added tackle Mike Farrell (Shady Side Academy and Penn State) two days after releasing him. To make room, they cut former Pitt cornerback Buddy Jackson.
LB Sylvester hurt
Linebacker Stevenson Sylvester left the game with an ankle injury and did not return. He was hurt during a first-quarter punt when he and teammate Markus Wheaton collided.
Not dressing for the Steelers were Bell (knee), McCoy (undisclosed), Spaeth (foot), Plaxico Burress (shoulder), Curtis Brown (ankle), Terry Hawthorne (knee), Ross Ventrone (unknown), DeMarcus Van Dyke (hamstring) and Cortez Allen (knee).
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.
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