The Steelers have one of those good problems with their running backs right now.
They’ve had a running back run for more than 100 yards in each of the last three games with Jonathan Dwyer doing the trick twice and Isaac Redman pulling it off in Sunday’s win over the Giants. Both of them were put into the feature back role as a result of injuries and both of them produced, leaving the Steeler with a tough choice to make between them when everybody’s healthy.
Complicating matters even more is the fact that Rashard Mendenhall is still the guy that running backs coach Kirby Wilson considers to be the starter. Mendenhall has missed most of the year with knee and Achilles injuries, but Wilson told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Mendenhall has the “complete package” and would be first on the depth chart when he’s healthy. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has expressed a desire to stick with one back instead of going the committee route, so it would seem Mendenhall, who seems unlikely to play again this week, would get the first chance at that job when he returns to the lineup.
Assuming, of course, the Steelers don’t try a different approach. Redman agrees that the Steelers should ride one back, but also suggested going with two tailback looks that the team practiced during training camp.
“We did a lot of it,” Redman said, via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I’m surprised we haven’t done more, but everybody’s been banged up. Maybe when we get everybody back and everybody rolling maybe we’ll starting seeing two running backs.”
Dwyer and Redman both appear to be on track to play this week, so perhaps we will see some of those looks on Monday night. Or we’ll just see more of the same for a team that’s averaging 155 yards on the ground in their last three games. Either way, having too many backs and a successful running game is the kind of issue that should sort itself out just fine for the Steelers.