After a disastrous offensive performance in a loss to the Browns, the Steelers appear to be shaking things up at running back.
Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has promoted Jonathan Dwyer to the starting running back position for Sunday’s game at Baltimore, and demoted Rashard Mendenhall — who has started every game he’s played for the last three years — to No. 3.
The Steelers’ online depth chart lists Dwyer as the starter, Isaac Redman at No. 2, Mendenhall at No. 3 and Chris Rainey at No. 4.
Mendenhall’s demotion is apparently the result of his performance in Cleveland, when he fumbled on two of his four carries and gained a total of just three yards on the two carries when he didn’t fumble. Mendenhall was benched, although the fumbling didn’t stop: Dwyer, Redman and Rainey all fumbled on Sunday, too.
None of the Steelers’ running backs have been particularly good this season, but it’s no surprise that Dwyer has leapfrogged Mendenhall: Dwyer is averaging 4.4 yards a carry while Mendenhall is averaging 3.3. And Mendenhall has one more fumble than Dwyer even though Dwyer has almost three times as many touches.
Against the Ravens on Sunday, the Steelers can’t afford to have their running backs melt down like they did against the Browns.