Dwyer To Start Against Chargers; Mendenhall Headed For Inactive List Again

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mile Tomlin said Tuesday during his weekly press conference that running back Jonathan Dwyer will make his fourth start of the season on Sunday against the San Diego Chargers and that he will be backed up once again by Isaac Redman. Tomlin also hinted that Rashard Mendenhall will likely be inactive for a second straight week in addition.

“We don\’t intend on doing anything differently in terms of Jonathan being the guy and of course Red (Redman) supplementing him, because Red is capable of distinguishing himself in situational football, short yardage, and he\’s a good blitz pickup guy,” said Tomlin, when asked about the running back situation this week.

As far as Mendenhall goes, who was demoted to third string last week and one on the 7 inactive players for the game Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, Tomlin gave a pretty lengthy reason as to why it looks like he will once again be inactive for on Sunday.

“Rashard will get an opportunity to redeem himself I\’m sure at some point along this journey,” said Tomlin. “Man, that\’s the nature of this thing. There\’s ebb, flow and opportunities are presented. Obviously he\’s not being given one right now and due to a lot of reasons with most of the reasons not having anything to do with him or the running back position.”

“We\’ve got thin lines at a lot of other positions,” continued Tomlin. “We carried 8 offensive linemen a week ago, we\’ve got nicks at the wide receiver position, so a guy that\’s feature runner capable like Rashard, who has very little contribution in the teams game, is probably not going to get an opportunity to show much if he\’s not the feature runner.”

So there you go. Tomlin did admit that Mendenhall does need to redeem himself after fumbling twice in the loss to the Cleveland Browns two weeks ago, but stated that he will have to wait to do so. His inability to contribute on special teams will be one of the main reasons that he will be inactive on Sunday against the Chargers.

Mendenhall will be an unrestricted free agent following the season and it is looking more and more likely that he will be with another team next season as the Steelers certainly will not place the franchise tag on their former first round draft pick.

  • steeltown

    I hope they retain Dwyer this off season, with Batch and Rainey still under their original contracts, and either Redman returns or they draft another mid Rd guy

  • I am pretty sure they will use the money saved from not re-signing Mendenhall to sign Dwyer and Redman. That seems to pretty clearly be their plan to me at this juncture.

  • Thomas Rancy

    He doesn’t give you much special teams but he’s probably a better 3rd down back then any of the other backs (ya Redman can pass protect but not a huge threat to leak out and vice versa goes for Rainey)… where as Mendenhall can catch, block (without cutting) and…if Dwyer were to get hurt wouldn’t you rather him be out there then Redman as the feature back all game?

    All 4 backs have been injured at one point, not a stretch to day the one getting the most carries may again. What then?

  • He can still be active for the next game, and frankly, yes I do want Redman in there first based on their performances this year. He has a higher Yards per carry average, and is isn’t fumbling on nearly 1 in every 10 carries.

  • Reader783

    Remember that they still need to resign Wallace and Sanders

  • BettisFan36

    It does look like Tomlin’s lead dog is in the doghouse for a while, and I’m glad he’s shaking things up a bit in the backfield. But…

    On the other hand, I wouldn’t break the bank yet to sign Redman or Dwyer… With Mendenhall still healing from his ACL, the dynamic duo of Redman/Dwyer started off the season with a whimper… and if I’m not mistaken – some of the lowest rushing totals and ypc in Steelers history.

    And yes, even in this last game the Dwyer/Redman duo were somewhat effective, but if you take away Redman’s 24-yard scamper and Dwyer’s 16 -yard TD run… that leaves a dismal 40+ yards on 23 carries… plus I noticed Dwyer got knocked down at least 3 or 4 times behind the line for a loss…. you could say it’s the line’s fault… but wouldn’t that be the typical Mendy excuse?

    Redman seems destined for 2 string status, and Dwyer still needs to prove that he can be a feature back.

    And in some ways Dwyer was lucky he didn’t get cut last year – Batch’s ACL injury was his saving grace. Over the past few years there’s been a ton of negative talk about his lack of motivation and conditioning… and it makes no sense to me that a professional athlete would come into camp out of shape.

    So… bottom line: I’ll be interested to see how the RB situation will shake out as the year winds down.

  • Mike Carroll

    Let Mendy walk after the season and take whatever compensatory pick they may get the following year. 8 100 yard rushing games in 50+ starts won’t be missed, nor his first round pedigree. Not sure why coaches and players have cited his first round draft history as a credit to his playing abilities.

  • Ahmad

    My biggest gripe with Dwyer right now is his stamina. If you’re gonna be the feature runner, you gotta carry the ball 5-6 times in a row before you get a breather.

  • Resign Sanders, not Wallace.

  • LucasY59

    I would be happy with Dwyer and Redman over Mendenhall, he doesnt really fit in the salary cap. I know the Steelers dont usually go after free agents but if they were able to get Steven Jackson, its an upgrade over Mendenhall, plus the last time they aquired a RB from the Rams it worked out pretty well.

  • Reader783

    No…resign Wallace. No reason not to. It’s not like he is the only one with a production drop. If he was an attitude case the whole season, then maybe. Everyone can have a down season.

  • Reader783

    Dwyer runs like a Steelers’ back. He hits the hole and can’t be counted down until he is down. I have seen Dwyer emerge from more piles this season than Redman and Mendy combined in their careers. If Dwyer goes down behind the line, it’s because he hits a lineman in the backfield, makes a move and usually slips, but he never dances back and forth looking for a hole, he makes one.

  • Wallace has the most targets on the team, yet trails the other receivers in yards per reception, 20+ yard plays and percentage of targets caught. Our “deep ball” guy trails not only Sanders and Brown, but Heath Miller, in plays over 20 yards. In no way is he worth big money at this point.

  • Reader783

    Unless you plan on drafting a WR in the first round, he is absolutely worth resigning as still one of the most promising young receivers in the league. Who would replace him? Even Hines Ward had a down year or two. He had 7 straight 1000 yard seasons, dropped to 700 one year and came back the next two years with 1100. You don’t cut a guy because he made you mad at some points. Letting him go would be a huge mistake.

  • Worth re-signing and worth big money are two very different things, but thanks for the down vote anyway.

    In terms of reasons not to, salary cap would be number 1. To sign him they would likely have to Franchise him, and that would be way overpaying for his production. Wallace is not in the top 40 in yards, YPC, 20+ plays, yards per game, or first downs. He is tied for 21st in TDs and that is the only standout stat he has this year. You don’t pay a guy with those numbers top dollar/10+ million a year.

    VJax got a contract in the same range as people project Wallace to get. And while his catch numbers are not good, he has 400 more yards, 1 more TD, nearly 10 more yards per catch, and has more than three times as many plays over 20 yards (19 to 6).

    Yes, you don’t discount a guy based on an off year, but you also don’t give a guy who is playing in a huge contract year and coming up woefully short big money.

  • Besides, it very likely comes down to Wallace vs Lewis on which guy we make an offer to. If that is the case, Lewis is far more valuable to the team long term. I hope I don’t have to spell out why.

  • Reader783

    I don’t remember saying to sign him to the big money. I said to resign him. When you disagreed, you essentially took the part of “he’s not worth resigning”. He is worth resigning and he deserves the money that they plan to give Manny if not more like the money they gave to Antonio.

  • steeltown

    Yes, Dwyer has to continue to prove himself, but break the bank they will not, he will not cost much to sign long term. He’s a former 6th Rd pick who, as you mentioned, does not have eye popping stats. He could be retained for relatively cheap

  • steeltown

    Sanders could be tendered for another year, he’s a Restricted FA in 2013

  • steeltown

    Agreed, I suspect they will again offer him a contract thats slightly higher than A.Browns, maybe 5yrs $50-55milion, take it or leave it, Sanders could be retained for half that, with room left over for K.Lewis {fingers crossed}

  • Clint Martin

    Mendenhall should be on dancing with the stars. That is what he does behind the O line. He can’t just hit a hole you could put hair around it and he still can’t hit it!

  • Clint Martin

    No they don’t and won’t be resigning Wallace.He is gone after this season.The Steelers would have to be dumb to resign him to the contract he thinks he is worth. It won’t happen.

    He isn’t just having a down season he is showcasing his true talent.He is not a big money receiver by any means!!

  • Clint Martin

    Wallace is not going to be a Steeler next year! He wants big money and he IS NOT THAT TYPE OF RECEIVER! This was his tryout for a big contract he has failed in showing he is a young money type of guy! Paying him more than Brown would be a huge mistake. Steelers don’t make huge mistakes!

  • Clint Martin

    I don’t feel they offer him a contract worth that much again.

  • Clint Martin

    You are right he was a bust as a 1st round running back!

    He sure can dance!
    And remember Tennessee drafted right after us and took Chris Johnson at running back OUCH!!
    BUST or Matt Forte in 2nd with the 44th pick, or this is better yet! Ray Rice 2nd round 55th overall pick!

  • steeltown

    You may be right, Colbert has said multiple times they want Wallace to be a Steeler for life, but that was before this season. I guess it depends on how they view this season as a whole. Do they factor in the new Haley Offense and Bens injury when breaking down Wallace’s 2012 performance? I think they will, but will it matter.. maybe not. Also to be considered is how it appears they’re giving Sanders every opportunity to show what he’s capable of, even though Wallace has been healthy and active on game day

  • No, if you read my posts correctly, you would see that I never said nor took that position, I said he is not worth big money, nothing more.

  • Mike Carroll

    I think it would be a mistake to offer that type of contract to Wallace. The Steelers have already overpaid a little bit locking up some of their younger guys and have in essence borrowed significant amounts of future salary cap money, leaving them very little room for errors with money decisions. Wallace is not worth adding another $10 mil/yr to the bill. But other teams probably will pay Wallace, maybe the Colts or Redskins and I think he will be gone next year.

  • steeltown

    It wouldnt really bother me if he goes. The Steelers have shown an ability to find good WR’s (besides Limas Sweed) and there are other positions that need to be locked up

  • Reader783

    He should and will be resigned to a contract similar to Antonio Brown.

  • Clint Martin

    He wont except it ,he will get more somewhere else but he will struggle.

  • Clint Martin

    I agree!

  • Clint Martin

    he isn’t getting cut Steelers can’t and won’t pay him what other teams are willing to pay him and will pay him.

  • Reader783

    Ok. We’ll agree to disagree

  • He wouldn’t take that same contract last year. You are presuming he has learned enough to realize his value has fallen. Not really much to base a logical argument on…

  • Lewis will have a bigger impact on whether the cap money is there for Wallace than Sanders anyway.

  • steeltown

    Oh most definitely, it appears it comes down to Lewis or Wallace, as both are unrestricted. My last comment was supposed to be directed at the guy saying ‘Re-sign Sanders not Wallace’ This will again be another interesting offseason, there are more restructurings in the future as well as a couple who may be released, Harrison looks to be rounding into shape, but he may seriously be looked at as one to be released, (some people will be mad I even said that) he’s due around $20million over the next two seasons, his health down the stretch will be a big factor

  • I agree. My response was actually aimed at the same guy, but the comment threaded it under your response.

    I think we will see at least one somewhat unexpected vet take a bit cut (not a restructure, a cut) or get released.

  • wallace is gone sanders is a keeper

  • Reader783

    We will see, won’t we.