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Five Good Questions with Behind the Steel Curtain: Replacing Le'Veon Bell a "multiple man" job

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For this week's FGQ, I spoke with Jeff Hartman from SB Nation Steelers blog Behind the Steel Cuirtain.

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

1. There is little question LeVeon Bell is one of, if not the best running back in the NFL right now. Is there a big drop off from him to DeAngelo Williams?

There is a big drop off in versatility, but from a production standpoint running the football it doesn't seem there is that much of a drop off. Williams rushed for over 120 yards in Week 1, and 77 yards and 3 touchdowns in Week 2 before giving the starting role back to Bell. Le'Veon Bell is the complete package at the running back position. He can run the ball both inside and outside, can pass block with the best and is almost as accomplished a route runner as many wide receivers. Mike Tomlin said it best when he said replacing Bell is a "multiple-man" job.

2. Though the Raiders have won 4 of the last 5 versus the Steelers, they have lost 4 of the last 5 in Pittsburgh. How much of a role do you see the crowd playing Sunday?

If the Steelers are going to enjoy their home crowd at Heinz Field, they will have to win this Sunday. The Steelers have lost two heart breakers at Heinz Field to the Ravens and Bengals, and fans are starting to show some anger with the team and their play, especially at home. However, the team is still right in the thick of things and you can expect the crowd to be on edge, one for fear of another home loss, but also because they know the potential this team possesses.

3. In his first few seasons in Oakland, Mike Mitchell was known for being a passionate player and big hitter, but he struggled with discipline. How has he been since arriving in Pittsburgh? Has he given any indications playing his old team means anything more to him than other games?

Mike Mitchell has been a great player for the team in 2015, proving his sub-par 2014 season was due to a torn groin muscle which he played the entire season with. As for him mentioning going against the Raiders, the team that drafted him, he has been embroiled in a war of words for the past few days with a couple members of the Cincinnati Bengals, and hasn't spoken about his time in the Bay area. However, Mitchell is a passionate player, as you mentioned, and certainly circled this game on the schedule to show the Raiders what they let go to the Carolina Panthers prior to the 2013 season.

4. What is the weakest area for the Steelers on both sides of the ball?

On the offense, it is easily the center position. Maurkice Pouncey solidified the offensive line, but without the All Pro in the lineup, the offensive line is extremely vulnerable. Throw in the fact their starting left tackle was lost for the season two weeks ago with a torn ACL, and you have an offensive line with some missing parts. Outside of the line, this offense is a unit without many weaknesses at the skill positions.

Defensively, it is their secondary. The difference between 2014 and 2015 has little to do with defensive backs, but everything to do with the defensive front getting to the quarterback and masking the mediocre secondary. Teams who have been able to protect the quarterback have had time to pick apart the Steelers secondary. The Steelers are 5th in the NFL with 22 sacks on the season, so if you protect the quarterback you have the chance for some big plays down the field.

5. Outside of Ben Roethlisberger, what makes this Steelers team tick?

The other player who makes the team tick is easily the player who is now out of the year with a torn MCL, Le'Veon Bell. With Bell out of the lineup, it will be up to DeAngelo Williams to help keep the offense balanced. It is rare to not include a defensive player on the list, but this team is built around the offense. They want to protect the football, have long time-consuming drives which end in touchdowns. If they get into a pass-happy pattern, it typically ends poorly for the black and gold.

To see my answers to his questions, click here.