by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor):
According to Bob Labriola of the Pittsburgh Steelers official website (click here for the article):
“The answer to that question is based on whether Tomlin believed he had a better alternative, and it’s likely that was answered in the affirmative once he got an up-close look at Felix Jones. Tomlin said he was impressed with what Jones was able to do in the preseason game vs. Kansas City with just one walk-through in a hotel ballroom as preparation following the trade with the Eagles. Then Jones acquitted himself well in the preseason finale against the Panthers, and Tomlin had himself an alternative to Dwyer, who always seemed to be sabotaging himself by being out of shape, or taking himself out of games, or by fumbling, or with his ability to be a punctual professional.”
This shouldn’t be earth shattering news, especially in the wake of the release of Jonathan Dwyer (who led the team in rushing this preseason, though he also fumbled twice).
The moral of the story? Until Le’Veon Bell is ready to return to the field the Pittsburgh backfield will be one you want to avoid.
- Jones has never had more than 800 rushing yards or 185 carries in a season, so even if he were to grab the bulk of the carries he’s hard to count on to produce. Plus, he’s coming off a 2012 campaign where he posted a career worst 3.6 yards/carry.
- Redman has never had more than 479 yards or 110 carries in a season with a career long run of 28 yards. Confidence building, isn’t it?
- As Labriola points out, there are always going to be concerns about Stephens-Howling and his ability to withstand the beating of a full NFL season.
While it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible that any of these running backs emerge for a given week, it’s hard to expect them to grab hold of the job and run with it for any length of time. Bell is the clear best option, and until he returns the offense should be shouldered by Ben Roethlisberger and company. This is a situation to ignore over the first few weeks of the year.