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.