Mike Tomlin Says Isaac Redman Will Get The Nod Saturday Night If Healthy

With Pittsburgh Steelers rookie running back Le\’Veon Bell currently sidelined with a mid-foot sprain, head coach Mike Tomlin was asked Thursday on the evening edition of Steelers Live if running back Jonathan Dwyer would be the next man up Saturday night in the third preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

“You know; it\’s just that time of year,” said Tomlin. “I don\’t have great clarity about the next man right now. We got some candidates that are dealing with minor bumps and bruises that are associated with the preseason. Isaac Redman will get the nod if he\’s able to go. He\’s experiencing a stinger or two right now. LaRod Stephens-Howling has an MCL sprain – grade one – not significant. Those guys are working in a partial capacity. If they\’re unable to go, then Jonathan will get an opportunity.”

As you can clearly tell by Tomlin\’s comments, Dwyer was listed third behind both Isaac Redman and LaRod Stephens-Howling as far as his listed pecking order goes for Saturday night. Now that running back Felix Jones has since been acquired via a Friday morning trade with the Philadelphia Eagles, you have to wonder if even he might now be ahead of Dwyer as well.

Dwyer, like Redman, is set to earn $1.323 million this season if he makes the roster. I have stated all offseason how I thought the two could be battling for one spot on the 53 man roster, and it still appears that is the case even with Bell sidelined.

This running back battle is far from other right now and even got a little more interesting on Friday with the addition of Jones. Despite all that has happened up until right now, Dwyer is still not a lock to make the final 53 man roster.

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • paltel

    What specifcally do the sports writers know about Dwyer that is not being reported? It seems that from Labriola to Dave & Dave that everyone is treating Dwyer like the redheaded step child. Please don’t bother to respond with rumors and conjecture. I’d like to hear something tangible, however I won’t hold my breath.

  • steeltown

    Hmmm… I think more than anything Tomlin wants to give Redman some exposure with the 1st Team Offense, at this point Dwyer has received the bulk of the load and he’s looked pretty good (save the fumble) Redman needs some carries under his belt, same goes for LSH if he’s healthy enough (which I doubt)

    If Redman cant go this weekend or if he fails to impress or leaves injured (again) I don’t see how they can keep him over Dwyer, if they do intend to only keep one

  • SteelersDepot

    I am about to make sure I don’t subject you to it anymore from this point forward. i will see you on the other side.

  • Mkeller

    We’ve been through this!!!!!!! He can’t keep the weight off and they don’t trust him. It’s public knowledge….not my opinion. Redman is a workout guy and they like that. Dwyer is not a workout guy and they don’t like that.

  • steeltown

    Reports are he showed up to camp in shape

  • DAYSNWAYS

    Tomlin doesn’t like Dwyer, simple.

    He is quite good at alienating players,….that’s why in this last draft we have picked a load of high character players, its because what Mike values above talent.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    As stated in the post, the Steelers are not in a good position to keep both Redman and Dwyer at $1.3M. If I am GUESSING which of the 2 they like more, a reasoned analysis makes me think it is Redman because his name keeps coming up ahead of Dwyer’s on the depth chart.

  • cencalsteeler

    Damn, you make me laugh out loud every time you do that, just priceless!!

  • SteelersDepot

    Life is too short, no?

  • Matt Manzo

    Yeah, we could be looking at Redman and Dwyer being dangled out there for a trade? Give Redman some playing time and if he can produce either keep him and trade Dwyer or keep Dwyer and trade Red; I still think we’re looking for OLinemen to get. I’m ok with LSH, Dwyer or Redman and FJones(would of rather had Blount) until Bell is healthy.

  • steeltown

    When healthy.. Le’Veon, LSH, Felix Jones and Redman OR Dwyer is a damn good stable of backs if you ask me, especially when considering LSH and Jones can contribute on special teams

  • dgh57

    Yes, he came to camp in shape but only after a butt chewing leaving the OTAs!

  • cencalsteeler

    JMO, but I tend to think Tomlin doesn’t like Dwyer as much as some of us do. As most of us know, you don’t want to end up in Tomlins dog house, and I don’t think Dwyer has ever made his way out as of yet. And someone please educate me on a stinger. When I played, a stinger was nothing more than a feeling you get when you hit your funny bone. After ten minutes, the numbing sensation disappears, and your back out there. What gives?

  • steeltown

    I think most fans have the same sentiment as Tomlin, not me though, production is production and although he hasnt been GREAT, he has been the most productive

  • Ken

    Tomlin is trying to say is that he just saw Dwyer and he would like to see Redman, I think everyone gets the feeling that Dwyer does just enough to get by, when he has the tools to do much more… and its annoying.

  • Jason

    If Tomlin is being a tough guy and making a statement to Dwyer about coming to mini camp out of shape I wish he’d have shown the same balls with Woodley who was fat for 2 years. We all know your value as it relates to wins and losses determines how long you stay in the dog house. That said, I don’t feel Dwyer is really much better or worse than our other options.

  • Soliciting Steelers

    Steeltown we agree again, I didn’t like the trade at first because I don’t like the idea of dropping Redman or Dwyer but it would save close to $1M on the cap I believe…[$1.3M – [$780k-$500k]] (thats Dwyer minus Jones/Robinson displacement) but I agree I don’t see how you keep Redman over Dwyer when Redman hasn’t carried the rock all preseason practically and Dwyer has looked good in A LOT of opportunities!

  • Soliciting Steelers

    And Woodley? Let’s trade for Aaron Maybin to motivate Woodley the same way (subsequently been cut)…Dwyer is in shape and has looked the best while Redman has ran maybe 4 times all preseason and keeps getting dinged in camp it seems…but 1 of the 2 is probably gone and its sad

  • Soliciting Steelers

    Good call! Let’s trade/sign Aaron Maybin to motivate Woodley the same way LOL

  • Shea Fahr

    “If Healthy”..How many times have we had to hear this regarding Redman over the years? And how many more times will we have to? I like him and HOPE he can but there is no way in my mind that he can hold down the lead role until Bell comes back. But I tend to be wrong as much as I am right.

  • Fivesevenzero Sports-Radio

    They must really dislike Dwyer as a person! Because his play on the field has been the best overall.. Would really like to see redman thrive this week.. Dwyer is still young I can’t believe we are considering getting rid of him

  • Shea Fahr

    Agreed…there is something possibly that the rest of us on the outside are not aware of. I say keep him and run the wheels off of him.

  • Fr33th1nk3r

    Wow. What an arrogant reply.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Why would they not be in good position to keep both? They have more than enough cap space.

  • Shea Fahr

    Exactly and should keep both.

  • JPDQ

    Two things:

    1 – Unfortunately, just like the past couple of years, the Steelers won’t have the luxury of playing their best back week in and week out (whoever that may actually be), they’ll have to continue to play their “healthiest back.” Not really a winning formula if you ask me.

    2- I think this Dwyer/depth-chart thing is a bit of a smokescreen. I think the guy’s a lock for the roster, and putting him third on the chart is a reflection of that. It’s more like a message to Redman to say, okay, you’re up – show us what you can do. Dwyer led the team in rushing last year and has been the only healthy back this preseason (and generally more healthy than Redman, it seems). It would make absolutely 0.0% sense to let that guy go.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Dwyer has below average vision for a running back. He misses holes fairly regularly, and through the first two preseason games, struggles with decision-making on stretch plays. Generally, he tries to bounce plays to the outside when he shouldn’t.

  • Shea Fahr

    I completely agree with you.

  • JPDQ

    Guess we have completely different opinions on Dwyer. I don’t see it that way, and his vision was good enough to lead the team last year. Like I said, if they cut the healthiest back we’ve got because he can’t run the stretch play well enough, then, well… you make your own bed, Steelers. Gotta lie in it.

  • Shea Fahr

    Yes Matt but I still think he can correct those things. Perhaps vision is something that cannot be taught but thru film study ect., he still may be able to turn it around. He really is pretty young and still maturing.

  • JPDQ

    As I’ve said before, I think the RB position is just way, way overrated. I’m more than happy to have two 1.3 mil RBs on the roster if they could just stay healthy. You don’t need a superstar RB to have success. It’s our O-Line that will continue to be the Achilles heel of this team. You have a line that can block and open up holes, friggin Mike Ditka could run to daylight.

  • cencalsteeler

    I agree Matt, but it’s a simple fix for him. He tries to bounce outside, but he can’t outrun a db. His rule should be stay inside the numbers unless your more than ten yards down the field.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I actually like Dwyer, and I think the Steelers need to keep both him and Redman and not worry about Jones. However, when I rewatch the games to break them down, I see him making poor decisions about which hole to hit, when to cut outside, etc. It generates a lot more negative running plays than it should. He’s great at bursting through a hole that’s right in front of his face and getting the most out of it without elite speed, and when he’s had that, he has excelled. But I think it goes without saying that leading a team with 623 rushing yards is not very impressive.

    As far as being healthy goes…he’s struggled throughout his career not only with his health, but his weight and conditioning, and the coaches are getting tired of his yo-yo weight strategy. He suffered through a quad and a turf toe injury last season, in addition to a shoulder injury in the preseason. He broke his foot and was put on IR in 2011, and he was irrelevant in 2010. Redman battled through a groin/hip injury and an ankle injury that lasted through much of the season last year and twice had concussions, but other than that (and this recent stinger obviously), Redman hasn’t had health issues in past years. It’s just unfortunate that the ankle injury occurred at the worst possible time for him, when he was given the opportunity to show that he can be a starter. I still think he can be, and I think he will be the starter week 1 and until Bell gets back.

  • Matthew Marczi

    He should be able to get a better feel for the zone, and I hope he does. Maybe he’ll show it tomorrow night.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Hey, I’m all for him improving. I like him as a back, and always have, but he does have weaknesses. I think he’s in a roster battle with Felix Jones right now that I expect him to win.

  • JPDQ

    Clearly, neither one has been a picture of health. And neither one is head and shoulders above the other. My recollection is that Dwyer was healthier and more productive last season, and has certainly done more this preseason. Based on that, I think he’s a lock and should get the starting nod. You may still be right that Redman will start though, because Tomlin seems to favor him. But the further we go down this road with Tomlin, the more and more I question his decision making.

  • walter mason

    Not to mention Dwyer tapping himself out almost every other play last year. I didnt get to watch the games here in Florida but Im guessing he is better winded this year? My choice if I had to choose is Redman but I also think we can keep them both.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    Their rule of 51 number is around $4M under. Add 2 players for the final 53 plus another 4-5 for IR and PUP and you are at 58 players. I count each of those 7 players above the 51 as being worth about $450k which puts their cap room right around $1M. That is cutting it close when you still have injuries to account for in 2 preseason games plus the regular season. They always try to go in to the season with $2M available. They don’t have a lot of options to make meaningful cuts. Redman/Dwyer are one of the few options they have to save $500K,.

  • Matthew Marczi

    You make a good point, but I still maintain that they have a lot of space to shave that money off. For example, some cap hits of likely and potential cuts:

    David Johnson: $630K
    John Parker Wilson: $630K
    Michael Palmer: $630K
    Felix Jones: $587K
    Guy Whimper: $555K
    DeMarcus Van Dyke: $555K
    Kion Wilson: $555K
    Brian Moorman: $555K
    D’Anthony Batiste: $555K
    Brian Rolle: $555K

    For example, if Vince Williams and Marshall McFadden make the roster over Wilson and Rolle, the Steelers will save nearly $300K.

    IR/PUP cap hits:

    Sean Spence: $636K
    Plaxico Burress: $630K
    Nik Embernate (?): $405K

    To the best of my knowledge, Curtis McNeal, Justin King, and Zach Pianalto all released injury settlements. The Steelers still only currently list Burress on injured reserve though. Heath Miller is highly unlikely to start on the PUP list. If the Steelers place Matt Spaeth on IR with return designation, then he has to be on the final 53-man roster, meaning whoever they replace him with on the roster will not have a fully guaranteed salary.

    Bottom line, I don’t think the Steelers cut a back merely because of the salary cap. I think Felix Jones was brought in to legitimately add to the competition, and if he beats out Dwyer, then it’s a bonus as far as the cap savings goes. Still, Bell’s injury makes it even more likely that they keep both Dwyer and Redman.

  • Fivesevenzero Sports-Radio

    I don’t remember Dwyer ever really being hurt. I watch a ton of ACC football. Dwyer has been the healthiest back on the steelers for awhile! His weight on the other hand is different.. We haven’t been able to run with healthy RBs in awhile

  • 2443scott

    redman needs the work..dwyer was healthy so he got the game …i think dwyer has shown some things this year but can you trust him i dont he seems to drift back to who he is ….i still believe steelers are working dwyer so they can some how trade him more so then release him ….if thats the case then jones was reason for the pick up …..and if he is being shoped around who would we be able to get for him …are we going for a player or a draft choice for next season sure seemed like head office wants more draft choices next draft ..batch is gone i think dwyer is also …howling i think is safe redman i feel is safe bells the number 1 everyone knows that so is there room for jones is question ….i think jones might get a good deal of work returning here you have a running back who can return who can come in like rainey did play a down or two and also if you need another back hes there if a injury turns up and since steelers like people able to do more things i think this will kill dunns chances of getting on team …so is this the steeler plan we shall see

  • sean mcmartin

    For Once Colbert said it correctly. These were 8-8 running backs. felix jones, LSH and bell and maybe one of the knuckleheads who could not get it done last year..There has to be some hungry players available. players who want to win and play like it..

  • PA2AK

    I think (hope) this is what is going on. While Dwyer has never been T’s favorite he is certainly the best healthy rb on the roster. Face it, his first two years he was never going to see the field regardless of his conditioning…red had more experience and Mend. was clearly the better back when healthy. Last year Dwyer produced in spite of the ol and excelled when they were healthiest. Shielding the ol from lack of run production is a joke. And pinning the Cleveland debacle on one guy is even worse…the team and even more so the coaches were awful. Also don’t agree with pulling a starter or sitting a guy just because he fumbled…that’s not coaching. That’s scrambling because your team is floundering.

    I think we caught a glimpse of what Dwyer can do once he matures. I believe the taste of the starting job, being put on notice, and the birth of his child have all helped this very young man mature finally. He IS only 24. He did well with a OL that didn’t progress from the 1st game and with a TE that can’t even spell ‘block’! By the way…in the zone scheme…if there is penetration consistently to the degree Paulson allowed…it shouldn’t work at all…but Dwyer still had positives. Yes some miss-reads but he’s learning the new scheme too. The kid doesn’t shy away from impact (will need that with this ol) and he has another gear that red clearly does not ( need that too as he may be running for his life).

    The Jones pickup isn’t bad, but regardless of what he’s done in the past…he was also on the chopping block in Philly.

    If Dwyer isn’t a lock and the week 1 starter…it’s a big mistake. The kid has done everything right this year, he’s healthy, and he’s more talented than what we have outside of Bell.

  • PA2AK

    He did that once…and other rbs do it all the time. He’s in shape and has clearly matured both professionally and personally.

  • PA2AK

    Have to remember too…he’s also adjusting to the zone blocking scheme. Even with the OL not getting it 100% he was able to do something. He has room for improvement…that’s also a plus that he shares only with Bell. With red and jones…what you see is what you get. No real upside there.

  • PA2AK

    This is where I disagree with Colbert. First the steelers played down to 8-8, not up…there is a big difference. Also the OL and offensive game plan was 8-8. I think red and Dwyer did what they did in spite of those two factors, not the other way around. Don’t get me wrong…they aren’t elite rbs buy any stretch, but neither was that revolving ol or offensive game plan.

  • PA2AK

    But if his ‘just enough’ is better than Redman’s ‘as good as it gets’…why not take the shot on Dwyer? He HAS matured big time since last year. Neither are the long term answer so why not take the one that is better right now and has much more potential. Neither are locker room problems. Should be a no brainier.

  • JPDQ

    Well said. The most troubling thing of all is how flat out poor this line has looked so far. We might be ignoring our O-line depth, but for god’s sake, we have two #1s and two #2s starting on this line. It should be humming along by now, no excuses. I don’t care if they have to learn a new scheme or block blindfolded and backwards. These are professionals and high draft picks. That’s what they’re supposed to do. I understand they are injury prone, but if these five guys all start in Week 1 and look like what we’ve seen the past two preseason games, turn out the lights Irene, the party’s over…

    Tonight should tell us pretty much everything we need to know.

  • walter mason

    Im glad to hear he only did it once. Tapping out every other play last year was utterly ridiculous and other RBs certainly do not do that all the time..