Pittsburgh Ask any of the people involved in the current — and at the moment only — drama surrounding the surging Pittsburgh Steelers about who should be the starting running back and you’ll get a variety of answers. None of them definitive.
Jonathan Dwyer, whose 299 rushing yards lead the team, thinks the job belongs to injured Rashard Mendenhall, whenever Mendenhall’s strained right Achilles tendon heals.
Isaac Redman thinks it should be the “hot hand,” which at the moment would be his after running for a career-high 147 yards in last week’s season-defining triumph against the New York Giants.
Mendenhall, who has carried the ball just 19 times in the past 10 months after tearing the ACL in his right knee on New Year’s Day, thinks the decision is out of his hands and would prefer to focus on his health.
Even the guy actually in charge of the depth chart is noncommittal.
“Whoever’s being productive when healthy is going to get the totes,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “I really think it’s that simple. I’m not going to make it any more complex than it has to be.”
Or any less murky either.
Redman will get the start tonight when the Steelers (5-3) host luckless Kansas City (1-7). The Chiefs have endured a miserable first half of the season, though the re-emergence of Jamaal Charles gives them clarity in the backfield.
A year removed from a torn ACL that ended his 2011 season after just two games, Charles is ninth in the NFL in rushing and remains one of the most explosive players in the league. He ran for 233 yards — the second-highest total of the season — in a 27-24 overtime win against the Saints that remains Kansas City’s lone victory.
“You just can’t let the guy get daylight because he’s gone,” Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said.
While the Chiefs are sinking, the Steelers are soaring.
Pittsburgh has won three straight and is getting production from whoever happens to be bending over next to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the huddle.
All three backs know the leash is short if they don’t perform.
“It’s like basketball, if the shooter has the hot hand, we’re going to feed him the ball and if all of us are feeling it, we’ll just rotate or something,” Dwyer said.