It seems like Rashard Mendenhall left the Steel City just in time to avoid the ambush that’s been brought upon the backfield of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The most recent news about the Steelers’ wounded running backs is in regards to rookie Le’Veon Bell. The second-round draft pick made his preseason debut this past Monday, only to leave the game early with a foot injury. Bell, who was already held back by his coaching staff with a knee injury, suffered what has reportedly been called a Lisfranc injury.
Fellow teammate Matt Spaeth suffered the same injury recently, and will be sidelined for virtually the next two months after having surgery.
Other injuries that happened during Pittsburgh’s 24-13 loss were to Baron Batch (stinger) and Will Johnson (ribs). Coming into the game, Isaac Redman and LaRod Stephens-Howling were nursing a stinger and an injured knee respectively.
Seeing just how battered and bruised the Steelers’ backfield is, the only option there seems to be for Week 1 of the regular season is Jonathan Dwyer.
Having the four-year veteran as the feature back at the start of the season may not be a bad decision. Dwyer raised eyebrows against the Washington Redskins by rushing for 68 yards on 14 carries, and looked much better after shedding some pounds over the offseason.
With the seriousness of Bell’s injury, along with the others, Pittsburgh will more than likely have to alter their plans as far as making decisions on their first round of cuts, and on how much they intend on playing their running backs in the all-important third preseason game.
If everyone isn’t able to play this coming Saturday, then it may be wise to not play Dwyer too much and risk having him added to their list of casualties. We all know that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger can carry the team game after game, but seeing just how things are in the backfield, the Steelers need to do whatever they can to protect Dwyer so that he can help shoulder the load along with Roethlisberger early in the regular season.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+