Over the course of the Pittsburgh Steelers first two OTA sessions of the 2013 season it has been reported that running back Jonathan Dwyer has received his fair share of first-team reps, but on Monday, head coach Mike Tomlin cautioned that we shouldn\'t read too much into what happens when the team plays football in shorts.
"When we put clothes (pads) on," said Tomlin, when asked when he intends on sorting out the situation at running back. "Right now, this is an opportunity to teach and help guys grow and develop, put them in a position to compete in a training camp-like setting. I just think that’s appropriate. I think the decisions that are made this time of year are usually the wrong ones, because our game is one that is played in pads."
The Steelers won\'t start training camp until late in July and at that time, Dwyer, Isaac Redman and second-round draft pick Le\'Veon Bell will all attempt to stake their claim to the starting running back job.
Dwyer led the team in rushing last year with 623 yards on 156 attempts and also posted back-to-back 100 plus yard performances in the wins over the Cincinnati Bengals and the Washington Redskins.
Redman, who finished the 2012 season with 410 yards on 110 carries, showed up to the Steelers OTA sessions noticeably lighter after working out with a speed trainer down in Florida earlier in the offseason.
Many, however, believe that Bell will become the starter at some point during his rookie season if not by the season opener. Last year at Michigan State, he rushed for 1,793 yards on 382 carries and scored a total of 12 times on the ground.
Tomlin\'s response to the question was a predictable one, and I have cautioned everyone over the course of the last few weeks that we shouldn\'t read too much into the current pecking order. Being that Dwyer finished the 2012 season as the starter, the coaching staff likely decided to pick up during the offseason where they left off last year.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert has been highly critical of the running back group starting from the conclusion of the 2012 season, and it was pretty obvious that the team would be addressing the position early on the April draft, which they did.
Both Dwyer and Redman signed non-guaranteed one-year, $1.323 million restricted tenders during the offseason, so it is not out of the question to think that both could be directly competing against each other for a spot on the 53 man roster.