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Monday, October 21, 2013
Wildcat a wild card for Steelers

By Scott Brown

PITTSBURGH -- Mike Tomlin always struck me as a coach who was more dismissive of the Wildcat offense -- or at least its staying power -- than anything else. That is why it will be interesting to see if the Steelers continue to use it after running four plays from the formation in their 19-16 win over the Ravens.

“We’ll do anything to win football games,” Tomlin said. “That’s just the state we’re in.”

I’m not sure how much of a fan I am of the Wildcat when it comes to the Steelers. It is a little disconcerting to see quarterback Ben Roethlisberger line up as a wide receiver and then try to block, as he did on one of Le'Veon Bell's runs after taking a direct snap from center.

Imagine the outcry if Roethlisberger got hurt while trying to help spring Bell for a big gain. Then again considering that Roethlisberger has been sacked 21 times already, the pocket hasn’t exactly been a safe haven for the Steelers’ franchise quarterback.

And one reason for the Steelers to embrace the Wildcat is Bell seems so comfortable running it. Despite the team practicing the package last week for the first time all year, Bell looked like a veteran in triggering it against the Ravens.

That is not surprising since he ran the Wildcat as a quarterback in high school and at Michigan State.

The formation plays to one of Bell’s biggest strengths as a runner: his patience. And Bell said he is capable of throwing the ball out of the Wildcat if the Steelers want to add more to the package.

“Maybe we put some more in it and see what happens,” Bell said. “We can definitely get better at it and work on it more.”

If nothing else the prospect of doing just that is enough to make the Raiders at least think as they prepare for their game against the visiting Steelers next Sunday.