On Friday morning, the Steelers tried to shore up their running back position when they traded outside linebacker Adrian Robinson to Philadelphia for Felix Jones. Despite his late arrival during preseason play, the former 2008 first round pick led his new team in rushing yards (29 overall) in Pittsburgh’s third preseason game against Kansas City on Saturday night.
While I was not particularly “wowed” by Jones’ performance, I would nevertheless like to see the Steelers give the veteran a bulk of the carries during the team’s final preseason game. With so many of their running backs shelved, it is a “win-win” situation for Pittsburgh’s coaching staff.
On one hand, more carries for Jones means more of an evaluation window for Pittsburgh’s coaching staff to look through in the final week of the preseason. Jones was only acquired last Friday, so the more carries and work he can receive, the more sure of a decision that Pittsburgh’s brass can make regarding his future with the team. Plus, with Jonathan Dwyer looking like he will start the season as the team’s “feature back,” keeping him in tip-top health will be an absolute must.
On the other hand, more carries for Jones will definitely help him if the team elects to keep him on their 53-man roster for the 2013 campaign. If the Steelers need to turn to Jones during the regular season, he will need all of the carries he can get to ready himself if he is called upon this fall.
The Steelers will need “all hands on deck” at the running back position early this year, especially if Le’Veon Bell, Isaac Redman, and LaRod Stephens-Howling cannot stay healthy. Thus, it might behoove their coaching staff to give Jones as much work as possible just in case they need him to take on an extended role during the regular season.
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