Jonathan Dwyer Says Rashard Mendenhall Is The Guy When He Is Healthy

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer has managed to put together back-to-back 100-yard games, but he still insists that Rashard Mendenhall will be the starter when he returns from his Achilles injury.

Dwyer, who has started the last two games after seemingly being benched for fumbling against the Oakland Raiders several weeks ago, told the media on Wednesday that Mendenhall is indeed the guy and that he knows his role.

“I mean, Rac is the guy,” said Dwyer, referring to Mendenhall by his nickname. “Rac has been here for years, and they drafted him in the first round to be a starter. That\’s his room and we complement him.”

Mendenhall is still recovering from an Achilles injury that he suffered against the Tennessee Titans and he just started back practicing on a limited basis on Wednesday. In his one full game of action this season against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Steelers former first round draft pick rushed for 68 yards and chipped in another 33 yards in receiving.

Fellow running back Isaac Redman is back practicing fully now and should be ready to dress for the game Sunday against the New York Giants. With Mendenhall still likely to be held out this Sunday, Dwyer has a chance to start his third straight game, assuming he can overcome the quad strain he suffered late in the game this past Sunday.

Dwyer is right, Mendenhall is the guy, but another 100 yard performance would have the Steelers coaching staff questioning if they need to reevaluate that.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I will give him props for this….his on field performance has been better than Mendy’s, but he won’t create a controversy in the locker room. That is being a team first guy. That will earn him points in the Steelers FO. Now that being said, I still find it amazing that Mendy NEVER had back to back 100 yard games…in 4 years. If Dwyer gets 3 in a row….you almost have no choice but to look back at that starter’s role.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    Just looked up some stats. It appears that Dwyer has received carries in 9 games in his career. He has 3 – 100 yard rushing games. Mendenhall has received carries in 51 games and has 8 – 100 yard rushing games.

    Now this being said, all but 2 of Mendy’s games have come with an OC who didn’t believe the run was a weapon, only a way to set up the long pass.

  • This is one of those good problems to have. Personally, I think Mendy would be better suited for the 3rd down Back role where he is catching passes in the Flat and on screens in open space. JD seems to be a bit stronger in between the Tackles with his quick feet and strength.

  • Fu-Schnickens

    Not quite sure why Dave Bryan continually believes that it is Mendy’s god-given right to start football games when he has been so mediocre for so long. I beg him to tell me that Mendy hits defenders head and on and plows through (or drags) defenders like Dwyer does. THAT is Steelers football not to drop to the turf with the first light-as-a-feather touch from a defender like Mendy has done year in and year out. Ridiculous…remember, like Herm said, “We play to win the game.” not to avoid hurting hurting Mendy’s feelings.

  • I believe it was John Dwyer’s quote, not Dave’s. I think Tomlin said earlier this year that Mendy is his “Lead Dog”…Like it or Hate it, it’s beyond us…if you will.

  • Koleman Dudek

    Mendy is the most complete back the Steelers have, PERIOD….

    I think you would see a much more productive Mendy in this new Haley offense, it is just a matter of getting him healthy. Dwyer is solid, but not the best back on this team, He acknowledges that.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    In all honesty, Mendy is a more “complete” back than Bettis was as well, but he was very successful with what he had. Just because you are more complete, it doesn’t mean you are the correct back to be starting. Sometimes less complete backs are better backs because they fit the offense that is being run. I don’t care if Dwyer runs the L TB Toss better than Dwyer, we don’t run that play anyway.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I have been a strong supporter of Dwyer even before these last 2 games…he is better at running the ball than Mendy but Mendy is a better blocker and receiver and has more speed. That is why he is our #1 back. Like it or not Mendy is the guy although I perfer smash mouth football and no question Dwyer brings that….ask Peko of the Bengals

  • Fu-Schnickens

    Shea, R-E-A-D the article….The last sentence states, “Dwyer is right, Mendenhall is the guy, but another 100 yard performance would have the Steelers coaching staff questioning if they need to reevaluate that.” Also, just because a coach says that someone is his lead dog, doesn’t mean that he is contractually bound to keeping a lame lead dog for the whole race. Afterall, the coach’s job is on the line at the end of the day so how much water can the coach’s statements hold beyond a single presser? I ask you, if you were coach would you have no trepidation about pulling a consecutive 100+ yard rusher and sitting him on the bench for someone like Mendy who’s only had 8 100+ yard games during his whole pro career?

  • Fu-Schnickens

    No, Dwyer is choosing to take the high ground to avoid causing controversy that might land him in Tomlin’s bad graces again. Show me one actual statement that reflects Dwyer concession that Mendy’s the “better” back. You need to apply a wee bit more critical thinking into this.
    The statement that Mendy is the best back is easily refutable considering the data the last several weeks.

  • Fu-Schnickens

    Amen. My sentiments exactly.

  • I D-I-D read it and I agree with you, I would give Dwyer the rock. He has the hot hand and is working well with the OLine right now. Again, I think we have good depth at the RB position which is a good problem to have. But Dwyer has been limited in practices this week and needs to show he can stay healthy over the long haul too. Go Steelers!

  • Isaac Reveles

    Why would you want to have a back that rushes 100 yards a game and puts it all on the line right? Mendy this mendy that. He is the softest back in the whole lineup and let’s not forget he has a problem with fumbling, he lost us the Super Bowl, it was the last nail in the coffin. He isn’t gods gift to the steelers. Dwyer all the way, smash mouth football.