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Steelers starting running back rotating by necessity, not by design

Injuries have changed up the Steelers starting running back in multiple games this season. While Jonathan Dwyer has been the lead horse recently, and could result in his third consecutive start in Week 9, neither he, nor Isaac Redman, nor Rashard Mendenhall have stayed healthy long enough to keep the job.

Justin K. Aller

To suggest Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall is the institution is a bit overblown, but in many ways, Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman are keeping his seat warm until he's fully healthy.

Or, more to the point, Dwyer is playing in place of Mendenhall and Redman. It's up in the air, but it seems we can expect this game of Running Back Roulette to continue.

It's a good problem to have.

Dwyer most recently, and Redman in Mendenhall's absence last season, have both shown they can produce. When applying scouting and personnel glasses, one can pretty quickly determine Mendenhall is the most talented runner of the three. Perhaps not coincidentally, though, Dwyer is the worst of the group and is having by far the most success this season - his 5.3 yards per carry rank him sixth in the NFL.

In the end, we're going to see Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley continue to rotate between the three of them. But the ultimate question is whether Haley will get much of a choice in the matter.

All three have been injured at various points this season. Dwyer went from the bench to a prominent role after an outstanding preseason was followed by a slow start in the team's first two games. Mendenhall returned to the lineup in Week 5 and had great success but was injured after six carries in Week 6. Redman injured his ankle in that same Week 6 game and here we are.

What makes us think this trend won't continue? There's at least as much reason to feel they'll all get their moment before this season ends, whether in a run through the playoffs or a disappointing Week 17 finale.