Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin did not give specifics during his Tuesday press conference as to what the running back rotation will be this week for the game against the New York Jets, but he did say that that Jonathan Dwyer will likely get more opportunities.
“I think that we are capable of better, said Tomlin, when asked about the running game. “We\’re still going to play a number of people – we haven\’t sorted out specifically what that rotation is to this point. Obviously I thought Jonathan Dwyer provided a spark plug and represented himself well, and probably will get an increased opportunity because of it.”
Although the Steelers running game struggled as a group Sunday night in the 31-19 loss to the Denver Broncos, gaining just 75 yards on 26 carries, Dwyer was the lone bright spot as he had 43 of those yards on just 9 carries. He also had an 11 yard run in the second quarter negated because wide receiver Mike Wallace was flagged for holding.
Dwyer led the Steelers in rushing during the preseason with 147 yards on 28 carries, and while it still evidently wasn\’t enough for him to earn the start over Isaac Redman, who battled a hip and ankle injury through most of training camp, you have to wonder if he might very well get the start Sunday against the Jets.
Dwyer is running with a purpose so far this season through the four preseason games and one regular season game and he has been inviting contact down the field. His pass protection has been spot on and he is turning into the complete back that the Steelers hoped he would become when they drafted in the 6th round of the 2010 draft.
While Tomlin did not rule out Rashard Mendenhall from playing Sunday, he did not sound overly convincing that he was ready just yet. Should Mendenhall wind up being inactive once again, it opens the door even wider that Dwyer will not only get a good amount of work against the Jets, but that he might actually start over Redman. We shall see.