Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer says that once Rashard Mendenhall is healthy, that he should start.
Mendenhall, who is currently recovering from an Achilles injury, hasn’t played the last two weeks and has been replaced by Dwyer. Pittsburgh’s second-string running back Isaac Redman has also been sidelined with an ankle injury, but has fully participated in practice this week and could get some playing time versus the New York Giants.
Since Dwyer’s been bumped up to starting running back, he has become the team’s leading rusher, and has become the first Steelers player to have back-to-back 100-yard games since 2008.
Maybe it’s just me, but I would think that if any player at any position were having success on the field, they wouldn’t want to take a back seat to anyone. I applaud the fact that Dwyer is willing to do anything to help the team. However, I do question the fact that he is willing to give up the starting running back spot so easily once Mendenhall returns fully healthy.
If Dwyer were filling in for Jerome Bettis, Franco Harris, Barry Sanders, Walter Payton, or any other great NFL running back, then I would see why he would take a step back. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Dwyer is stepping in for Mendenhall. Now Mendy is a good running back, I’ll give him that, but right now Dwyer is the hot back and should continue to spearhead the running attack while he’s in a groove. If it just so happens that Mendenhall is completely healthy and Dwyer is still running the ball effectively, then he should remain the starting running back.
Besides, Dwyer did something that Mendenhall hasn’t done in his five-year career in Pittsburgh, which is post consecutive 100-yard games. This should be more of a reason for Dwyer not wanting to give up the starting spot.
If I was an owner or a general manager of a team, and I heard that one of my players wanted to give up their spot just because someone else was drafted in the first round, I probably would question their competitiveness, and strongly consider not having them on my team.
Just think, if New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady thought that way when Drew Bledsoe got injured in the 2001 NFL season, then Brady probably would still be holding a clipboard right now instead of being a three-time Super Bowl champion.
Another reason why this doesn’t make any since is that, just like Mendenhall, Dwyer is currently playing on the last year of his contract. I would think that Dwyer would take advantage of every opportunity to prove that he is worth re-signing, or at least show other teams what he could do for this coming offseason.
Once again, I’m happy to see that there are still some unselfish players here in the league, but if you’re presently the best at your position on your team, then you shouldn’t, for any reason, want to give that up for a spot on the bench.
This makes me think that Dwyer questions his own playing ability, and is afraid of putting the bulk of the Steelers’ running game on his shoulders. If that’s the case, then maybe it’s best for him to give up the starting spot for someone who is more confident in their playing ability.
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