The DeAngelo Williams experiment has been a resounding success for the Steelers.
Despite Le'Veon Bell's return, Williams should still be heavily involved in the play calling entering Week 3 at St. Louis. There should be enough footballs to go around.
Through two weeks, Williams is second in the NFL with 41 carries. Only Washington’s Alfred Morris has more. He leads the NFL with three rushing touchdowns on 204 yards, which nearly matches his 219-yard performance from all of 2014, when injuries limited him to six games.
That pace will obviously change. But as more defenses drop two safeties to cover the magma-hot Antonio Brown (328 yards through two games), that dares the Steelers to run the ball. If Bell gets 18-to-20 carries, Williams can get 7 to 10. Plus, Bell's biggest impact could come at receiver, where he's lethal in the slot or coming out of the backfield. Williams is no longer a strong fantasy play but is worth keeping on the bench as the perfect complementary option.
“They can be a one-two punch,” left tackle Kelvin Beachum said.
The Steelers have run 115 offensive plays in two games, which isn’t a high number, but the Steelers had 6.5 plays per touchdown drive in a 43-18 blowout of San Francisco on Sunday. That's good living for an offense.
But there will be times when the Steelers need to run clock. If Williams is involved in that process, the Steelers are comfortable with Williams in important moments. They trust him. When asked recently about Williams capitalizing on the two-deep safety sets from opposing defenses, Ben Roethlisberger said, “We expect that from him.”
With 65 passing attempts through two games, Roethlisberger is showing he’s willing to call audibles and switch to the run if that’s what the defense dictates.
Williams showed up to training camp in ideal shape, down to around 215 from his previous weight of almost 230 at Carolina. Coach Mike Tomlin wants to see Williams sustain momentum.
“Look forward to him continuing to do that,” Tomlin said.