File this under, “it’s about time”, but today it was made official that Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer has been officially moved to the top of the depth chart and will be the starter. This is big news for those of us who’ve been clamoring for a more focused running attack that centered around a single back with complimentary players rather than the dreaded running back by committee. Something no NFL fan wants to think about.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin announced the move today and in doing so created a multitude of scenarios and what ifs for the remainder of this season as well as next.
My first thought when I read this was the end is near for running back Rashard Mendenhall. Mendenhall was drafted in the first round to be the feature back for the Steelers, and early on it appeared it was going to work. But after suffering a knee injury last season, many wondered if he’d be able to return this year, and if he couldn’t, would he remain in the mix at running back for the Steelers. My gut tells me that if Dwyer can continue with the momentum he’s built up, it’ll be easy for the Steelers to make that choice.
I am all for having a player or 2 to spell your starting back, but there comes a point when you can share too much. Running backs need to get in a rhythm and shuffling in 4 different backs is not way to do this. As long as Dwyer can stay healthy and hold onto the football, I saw keep feeding him the ball, and let guys like running backs Isaac Redman and Chris Rainey be a change of pace, and let Mendenahll rest up and get well. Then you can decide about his fate on down the road.
What say you Steelers fans? Do you love this move to put Dwyer on the top of the depth chart? Come find me on Twitter @nfldraftboard and let me know.