PITTSBURGH -- This year, the Pittsburgh Steelers don't feel nearly as uneasy about their depleted running back situation as they did last year, when disgruntled Ben Tate signed off the street days before the game and Josh Harris got called up from the practice squad. The trio of Tate, Harris and Dri Archer is out of the league.
But with DeAngelo Williams officially ruled out for Saturday's Wild Card matchup with Cincinnati -- a source says Williams is eyeing a divisional round return if Steelers win -- the Steelers aren't panicking this time.
When I asked H-back Will Johnson about this, he pointed to Fitz Toussaint's locker. He says Toussaint has earned the team's trust despite 42 yards on 18 carries, including 24 yards on 12 carries against the Browns.
"If you watch the film, he's always in the right spot, and he's been doing well in practice for a while," Johnson said. "Everyone is really confident in him."
Jordan Todman also has had a productive week as the No. 2 back who split carries with Toussaint in this week's practices.
Without the safety net of Williams' 11 rushing touchdowns, Ben Roethlisberger could be throwing the ball 40-plus times this week.
That's why pass protection from the running back spot will be huge. Mike Tomlin said Toussaint is "very capable" in that area.