"I mean, this is Pittsburgh," wide receiver Plaxico Burress told USA Today on Monday. "We're going to run the football, that's what our offense is going to be about. We're going to have to run the football. The Steelers and running the ball go hand-in-hand, like a ball and chain. Receivers are committed to helping run the ball, blocking downfield, not just catching the ball and worrying about scoring touchdowns.
"Everybody else around the league is going ... up-tempo, flashy, four- and five-wide, pistol, shotgun, spread passing. We're going to stay true to our roots and run the football."
Amid reports of lead-footed Carson Palmer running the option with the Arizona Cardinals, the Steelers appear deaf to the siren song of new-wave offense. Still, coordinator Todd Haley promised a ground-heavy attack last season, and the Steelers failed on this front. Their 96.1 yards per game ranked 26th in the NFL.
With Rashard Mendenhall joining Palmer on the Cardinals, Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman will battle rookie Le'Veon Bell for the Steelers' lead duties. Bell is our choice to get the most work this season. He's not a flashy, big-play guy; he's a tackle-breaking power runner.
The Steelers ran more than half their plays out of 11 personnel (one back, one tight end) last season, meaning Ben Roethlisberger still saw plenty of three-receiver sets. The loss of field-stretching pass-catcher Mike Wallace will lower that figure, but make no mistake: This team still goes where Big Ben goes. That won't change this season.