Who Becomes The Featured Back For The Steelers In 2013?

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Hands

December 23, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer (27) rushes the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Cincinnati Bengals won 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Was there a Steeler running back that didn’t struggle with fumbles at any point last season?  Let’s put securing the rock off to the side for now and talk about contributions to the passing game.  Not since Mewelde Moore has the Steelers had any back that was consistently good at catching the football.  But let’s look at some stats from last season.  Redman and Dwyer were almost neck and neck with catches.  The biggest difference is their yards per catch.  Redman more than doubled Dwyer’s total of yards, so Redman has an advantage of what happens when he does catch the football.  Both have good hands, but Redman appears to be the better receiver.  Bell in 2011-2012 had 67 catches, 434 yards, and 1 touchdown – reliable hands and often sought after as a receiving weapon.

Advantage: Push Bell

Blocking

I’d like to hear opinions from most running backs, but my suspicion is that they don’t like to block much for the passing game.  It’s a necessary evil when the play action is utilized, and for the Steelers, that’s often enough that this attribute should matter.  Surprisingly, Batch is the better of this group.  His smaller stature allows him to get low and he is more than just a guy who can master the cut block.  It’s hard to watch enough tape to really gauge vision vs. execution vs. result – but it seemed that Redman was put into more play actions than the rest of the backs, which puts the other at a disadvantage for true comparisons.  I’m going to stick with Batch on this one.

Advantage: Batch

 

As you can see just about each back contributes in some fashion to the offense in positive ways.  Though some might see this as a bit of misfortune, I see it as a great opportunity for the offense and for the running back core to have the competition happen between four running backs.  I hope they don’t try and release or trade a player before camp starts.  Let it all play out and make cuts at the end of the summer.  But for now I’m excited to see what happens in camp.  I hope that at least one guy stands out as the absolute featured back, so that we can lose this whole three man carrousel during a game.

 

 

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