Jonathan Dwyer knows when Rashard Mendenhall is healthy that the former number one draft pick will be back in the starting lineup. But even then, he can see everyone getting their shot in the backfield.
“We’ll just be a running back by committee,” said Dwyer. “Whoever has the hot hand gets more of the carries.”
Over the last three weeks Dwyer has had two 100-yard plus games, while Isaac Redman turned in a 147-yard performance against the New York Giants while Dwyer was injured.
Dwyer expects to be back on the field this week, while Mendenhall is also working his way back, possibly giving the team a full stable of healthy backs for the first time all season in a few weeks. If that happens, Dwyer feels the best plan of action is to give everyone a shot at carrying the ball, until someone gets going.
“It’s good to rotate, let everyone get a feel for it,” said Dwyer. “Everybody has a role, whatever that is. Whoever gets that feeling gets the majority of the carries and another guy rolls in when he gets tired. With all of us able to make plays when we touch the ball, who knows what can happen.”
Dwyer credits the recent success of the ground game with getting comfortable with Todd Haley’s playbook and finding running plays that work to the strengths of the backs.
“We just found things we like to do,” said Dwyer. “Coach Haley has a feel for us now. He knows how we are as individuals and he is going off of that.
“I had two big games and Isaac had a phenomenal game last week. It shows how deep the running back position is and teams have to prepare for all three of us and Baron (Batch), Will (Johnson) and (Chris) Rainey. They have to prepare of all of us.”
Tags: Baron Batch, Chris Rainey, Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, Rashard Mendenhall, Will Johnson
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A week ago the Steelers were at full strength at running back, but going into Sunday’s game against the Bengals the rotation there is uncertain.
Rashard Mendenhall, who returned from his ACL injury against the Eagles two games ago, injured his Achilles against the Titans on Thursday night, while Isaac Redman suffered an ankle injury.
Mendenhall, though, thinks he will be ready to go this week.
“I’m planning on being able to play,” Mendenhall said after Monday’s practice. “It’s a little tight. We’re just kind of working through it this week. I’m just taking it day-by-day. It’s not something I’m worried about too much.
“I know we’re both trying to get back. We’ll be day-to-day. Come Sunday night we’ll know for sure.”
Mendenhall said the Achilles injury could have resulted from a combination of favoring other areas coming off the ACL injury, as well as the short week coming back from playing on a Sunday to Thursday. He knows it’s a risk that comes with the game.
“I’m not frustrated at all,” said Mendenhall. “It’s just part of it. I’m going to continue to work. I’ve been in this position before. I’m just going to continue to work out of it. This process is a long process coming off of a major surgery so I’m just continuing to get better with it.
“With every extra day I’m just trying to do everything I can – work out, get extra treatment, different things like that.”
If either Mendenhall or Redman can’t go on Sunday, the Steelers do have a stable of running backs ready to carry the load, including Baron Batch, Chris Rainey and Jonathan Dwyer, who has been inactive since Mendenhall has returned to action.
“It’s just been a numbers game,” said Dwyer. “I don’t play as much special teams as the other guys. I am just preparing for it and am excited to get the opportunity. I just have to do what I have been doing, I try to make some type of play to get the team going and do whatever I can to help us get the win.”
Tags: Baron Batch, Chris Rainey, Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, Rashard Mendenhall
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Tags: Chris Rainey
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Rookie running back Chris Rainey gave Steelers fans a glimpse of what he can do against the Eagles when he caught two passes for 65 yards, including breaking free for a 57-yard touchdown.
But center Maurkice Pouncey has known for a long time what the speedy back is capable of as the two not only attended the same high school and the University of Florida, but Rainey also lived with Pouncey’s family.
“That is my man,” said Pouncey. “I told everybody before he got here that you are going to see a special guy and they did.
“He always did that at every level, so why stop now. He comes here and takes advantage of every time he gets the ball. He isn’t the biggest player, but he gives his all.”
Pouncey said he feels like a proud big brother when he watches Rainey.
“I love that so much,” said Pouncey. “To see everything he has been through and come out here and shine like that is awesome.”
Tags: Chris Rainey, Maurkice Pouncey
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Players have been practicing in shoulder pads and shorts for the last few days, but rookie running back Chris Rainey has taken it a step further, dressed in uniform pants along with all of the padding.
“I have to stay safe,” said Rainey. “Anything can happen without pads. I put on my thigh pads, my knee pads, everything because anything can happen at practice.”
Tags: Chris Rainey
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