When the Steelers drafted running back Le'Veon Bell in the spring, offensive coordinator Todd Haley saw a player who was capable of playing on every down. In addition to his power-back running skills, Bell was a quality receiver and capable of picking up blitzing linebackers, a must to play on third downs in the NFL.

After a foot injury forced him to miss the first three games of the season and the subsequent learning curve for a rookie, Bell is now in a position to be utilized in the manner the Steelers envisioned when they chose him in the second round out of Michigan State in April.

Bell was on the field for 61 of the team's 67 offensive snaps against the Ravens, and two of the plays he missed were after his concussion late in the fourth quarter of the 22-20 loss. After being eased into the offense in his first few NFL games, Bell has played 80 percent of the offensive snaps in the past three.

"We've been excited about him from day one with the things he has shown us, the attitude, his development and all those things," Haley said. "He had some setbacks and he handled those in a positive manner. He has continued to make progress. I think you've seen that correlate to us being a little more successful. If you have a guy back there that is a big dog, he gives you a chance to be multi-dimensional and helps a lot of people out."

Bell, who is 6 feet 1 and 244 pounds, has been a focal point of the offense in recent games. Only quarterback Ben Roethlisberger touches the ball more for the Steelers. Bell touched the ball 70 times in the past three games and amassed 322 yards from scrimmage, an average of 107 per game.

"I think they're more confident in me," Bell said. "I feel like I showed them enough for them to be confident in me in different situations. With me being a younger guy, when I first went in, they weren't going to trust me with everything. They eased me into it. Slowly but surely, I'm trying to get more comfortable in the offense, have the players more comfortable with me and keep moving forward."

Bell has not had a 100-yard rushing game this season, but he is the third-most productive rookie running back in the league when rushing and receiving statistics are combined. Green Bay rookie Eddie Lacy has 1,003 yards from scrimmage and Cincinnati's Giovanni Bernard has 875. Bell is close behind with 847 yards despite missing the first three games.