In Sunday night’s loss to the Denver Broncos, the Pittsburgh Steelers seemed to rely more on the passing game than the ground attack. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had nearly twice as many pass attempts (40) than the team’s total rushing attempts (26).
However, the bulk of Pittsburgh’s rushing came from running backs Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer. As predicted, Redman was the starter, while Dwyer rotated in.
After looking at the production of both backs, I think that Dwyer should be the starter for the Steelers in their next game against the New York Jets.
Dwyer’s performance on the field against the Broncos on Sunday night was by far better than Redman’s. Dwyer finished the game with 43 yards on nine carries, while Redman tallied just 20 yards on 11 carries. In addition, Dwyer’s 4.8 yards per carry definitely jumped out more than Redman’s 1.8 yards per carry number on the stat sheet.
Looking at more than the numbers, Dwyer looked more explosive in toting the rock and looked better at finishing off runs than Redman did. Moreover, Dwyer’s numbers could have been even better had his touchdown run not been negated after instant replay showed that his knee was down before crossing the goal line.
Am I saying that Redman shouldn’t be on the field for Pittsburgh’s next game versus the Jets? Absolutely not. Redman should still be a part of the Steelers’ offensive game plan, and head coach Mike Tomlin and offensive coordinator Todd Haley should still use a running back-by committee.
I believe that starting Dwyer, and possibly giving him more carries than Redman, will benefit Pittsburgh’s offense by opening up the passing game a little more.
Maybe Redman’s lack of playing time in the preseason and injuries affected his performance in Week 1. Well if that is the case, then Dwyer should without a doubt start in Week 2.
Along with adding more production, I also believe that this will give Rashard Mendenhall more time to heal from his torn ACL. I know many have said that Mendy looked good in practice and looks as if he can suit up, but we have to keep in mind that the NFL season is a long one, and that this is way too soon to push the panic button.
I just sincerely hope that Pittsburgh doesn’t look at the return of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and get the itch to put him back on the field. The Vikings don’t have the talent and depth of Pittsburgh’s backfield; therefore, the Steelers can afford to wait a while before putting Mendenhall back on the field.
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