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Steelers set to pound the ball with Bell, Blount combo

Prepare yourself for a dose of the old-school in Pittsburgh.

After the Steelers sank to 27th in rushing last season, NFL Media's Albert Breer reported that the Black and Gold have made it a priority to slash opponents on the ground in 2014.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has noted multiple times that play-caller Todd Haley has prominently featured two-back sets during offseason practices, using Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount in a thunder-and-lightning combination that offers more backfield versatility than Pittsburgh's enjoyed in years.

"He's a slasher, he can get upfield quick and he's fast," Blount said Thursday of Bell, per the Tribune-Review. "I think he runs a 4.4, 4.39 (in the 40). He can move. My style? I don't do too much dancing, I pretty much run the ball between the tackles and do what I can when I get an open field. We're two totally different running styles."

Bell's improvement down the stretch last autumn made him an easy choice for Around The League's "Making the Leap" project. Averaging under 4 yards per carry in six of his first eight games, Bell hammered out 4-plus yards per attempt in four of his last five outings.

Blount was hot-and-cold in New England last season, but exploded down the stretch: His 189 yards at 7.8 yards per clip in the regular-season finale was followed by the bruising runner's 166-yard, four touchdown jaunt against the Colts in the AFC Divisional Playoffs.

The Steelers also added an X-factor in rookie Dri Archer, "tagged internally as a miniature version of Jamaal Charles," per Breer. We don't expect the jitterbug to see many snaps on offense, but his mesmerizing return skills suggest an immediate impact on special teams.

This remains Bell's backfield, but a heavy dosage of Blount wouldn't surprise us come September. While the Steelers have used this offseason to get faster on both sides of the ball, it's Pittsburgh's ability to batter teams on the ground that could serve as the difference in a rugged AFC North.

In the latest edition of the "Around The League Podcast," the heroes debate the Super Bowl windows of Brady and Manning.

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