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DeAngelo Williams dangerous without ball as Steelers' sixth blocker

PITTSBURGH -- Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley sees DeAngelo Williams doing serious damage with two free hands, which will perk the ears of Williams fantasy owners who prefer the ball stay in his armpit.

The Steelers running back is an elite chip blocker, "one of the great chip guys I've seen," Haley said.

"I've essentially kind of become that sixth blocker, even if I don't have to block," Williams said.

This means two things for Williams' production, and those two things are good or bad for owners, depending on their vantage point.

The good: Williams doesn't come off the field because of his versatility, and players with good pass-blocking efforts who also run well typically get rewarded by appreciative coaches. With nearly 800 yards rushing and receiving in five starts plus backup duties, Williams is tied with Martavis Bryant for the team lead with six touchdowns.

The bad: The Steelers might feel more inclined to throw the ball with a steady chip-blocker in passing sets. Williams still can catch screen passes after chip blocks, but his carries would diminish in that scenario.

Sunday at Seattle, Williams got eight carries for 29 yards while the Steelers threw the ball 55 times. Normally they would strive for more balance, but the way Haley saw it, the passing game became the running game because they were controlling the clock with it (32 minutes). Williams got seven carries for 88 yards in those sets.

Haley asked Williams if he wanted to call more run plays, and Williams told him to stick with the pass because it was working. Haley considers his offensive group unselfish.

That doesn't mean Williams is asked to chip on every passing play. Half the time he's not supposed to. But he usually does it anyway.

"That's my opportunity to hit them back," Williams said.

At 5-foot-9, Williams believes he has a natural pad level to attack pass-rushers. "As long as Ben's standing up, I'm doing my job."

Expect Williams to get more than eight carries against the Indianapolis Colts. But also watch for Williams delivering a shoulder off the edge.