Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer had plenty of starts last season. In fact, in approximately 16 games last season, the Steelers running back by default was the one who was the least injured.
That's Dwyer, at least in reference to Le'Veon Bell and Isaac Redman. Bell re-aggravated a knee injury that held him out of the Steelers' 18-13 preseason-opening loss to the Giants. Redman suffered what's believed to be a stinger after taking a shot from Steelers' linebacker Larry Foote.
Dwyer stands alone.
It may be his last chance to do so.
There's no secret surrounding the Steelers running back group in 2013. LaRod Stephens-Howling has specialty duties - in the return game and as a third-down receiving threat. Bell was a second-round pick in April. Dwyer and Redman were both given restricted free agent tender offers worth $1.323 million each.
It doesn't take an economist to see where the redundancy rests, especially considering only three of those four are likely to make the team. If Dwyer performs well in this game, capitalizing on the (alleged) absence from the game of his rival, perhaps he stays. If not, maybe the Steelers just let Redman rest, and they're giving Dwyer a chance to audition on Monday Night Football for his next job.
As the adage goes, though, you can't make the club from the tub. Redman seems more familiar with that tub recently than perhaps he should. He still may play Monday, and considering Dwyer's performance in the loss to the Giants was less than impressive (a decent run was nearly cancelled out by a drop of a screen pass), Redman's roughly neutral performance in the game may win by default.
Dwyer getting the start, though, is the important aspect to this game. He will run behind the starting offensive line - left tackle Mike Adams, left guard Ramon Foster, center Maurkice Pouncey, right guard David DeCastro and right tackle Marcus Gilbert. Obviously, results of each running back's performance can be dictated positively and negatively on the performance of the offensive line, but giving Dwyer that even playing field, and letting him have some say in the decision, is important.
In many ways, it's his spot to lose, or win, now.
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