|Isaac Redman is expected to start at running back for the Steelers on Monday but Jonathan Dwyer could also be healthy enough to get some carries. (US Presswire)|
As has seemingly been the case every game this season, RB Isaac Redman was being grilled by a group of reporters Thursday about which back would start for the Steelers in Monday night's game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
When asked directly, Redman indicated that he was under the impression he would start.
Then Redman started talking more.
"If (RB Jonathan Dwyer) and I are healthy this week, I'm pretty sure both of us will get a lot of carries," Redman said.
"It may be that one guy starts the first half and another guy comes out and starts the second half," he added later. "Right now, we're not really worrying about who is starting as long as we're out there performing."
The merry-go-round that is the Steelers running back position continues to turn. Mostly due to injury, there have been four different players who led the team in carries and rushing yards (in some games, it was not the same person) for individual games this season.
The past three games -- all victories -- the Steelers rode a 100-yard rusher each time. It was Dwyer in wins over Cincinnati and Washington late last month and Redman on Sunday at the New York Giants.
Dwyer (quadriceps) and erstwhile starter RB Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) missed that game due to injury. Dwyer was a full participant in practice Thursday and is on track to play against the Redskins. Mendenhall was limited and is far less likely to play for what would be only the third time this season.
Mendenhall, a former first-round pick and 1,200-yard rusher who tore an ACL on Jan. 1, had 101 yards from scrimmage in the only game he started and finished this season (Oct. 7 vs. Philadelphia).
Redman has had two badly sprained ankles over the past three months but has had 270 yards from scrimmage in the past two games he has played -- including 147 rushing yards in a 24-20 win against the Giants on Sunday.
Dwyer, meanwhile, was a healthy scratch for two games in October but came back and had consecutive 100-plus-yard rushing games in the two most recent games he has played.
"It's a good problem to have," Redman said. "Each week our running back room has been banged up. Fortunately, we have three guys that are capable of carrying the load. (Jonathan) Dwyer stepped up for two weeks. Then, I stepped up last week. It's just scary to see what we can do when all three of us are able to carry the ball at the same time."
Coach Mike Tomlin, in comments that were slightly out of character, emphasized the mindset of sticking with the proverbial hot hand at running back Tuesday. Considering Redman is coming off what was arguably the best game of his career -- and he purportedly has been above Dwyer on the depth chart all season, when healthy -- it makes sense that Redman would start.
Still, expect something like what the Steelers opened the season with concerning their running game (albeit unsuccessfully): Redman starts and plays the first two series and Dwyer comes in and takes a series.
From there, if Redman is struggling and Dwyer effective, all bets are off.
"In this league, it's good to have multiple running backs," Redman said. "My body was pretty banged up (Sunday). I ran about 53 plays, which is quite a bit of snaps for a running back. So, when you have those extra running backs that can come in and help and take some of the load off you, it's always good."