No one expects Steelers coach Mike Tomlin to listen to fans. But, if he did, Tomlin wouldn't stick with Rashard Mendenhall.
In a SportsNation poll on who should be Pittsburgh's starting running back, 76 percent of the 5,568 votes went to Jonathan Dwyer. Mendenhall (10 percent) and Isaac Redman (two percent) didn't even finish second. The running back by committee option received 12 percent.
These are much different results than the ones back in March. This past offseason, Redman was the overwhelming favorite to take over as the Steelers' starter. In that poll, Dwyer only received 8 percent of the vote.
Here are selected comments on the Steelers' running back situation:
Tom from Philadelphia: The "we're paying him (Mendenhall), so we have to play him" philosophy drives me up a wall. I'm a big Mike Tomlin fan, but I can't understand why they don't just stick with what has consistently worked this year when given a chance Dwyer getting into a groove between the tackles and all of the yards after contact that come with it. Grind the defense down and possess the ball: that's Steelers football.
Ray from Woodstock, Ontario: As a Steelers fan, I'm tired of watching running backs by committee. Dwyer has shown himself a better back and a class act when asked if he should be the featured back. He has always said Mendenhall should not lose his job because of injury. Enough of this stuff. The Steelers can't afford more than one more lose. Tomlin needs to pick Dwyer and move on.
Willoughby from Virginia Beach, Va.: Dwyer should definitely be the starter with Mendenhall backing him up when Dwyer needs a blow. This doesn't have to be forever but just until Dwyer proves that he can't produce on a regular basis. Rashard dances too much vice Dwyer who is much more of a straight ahead North and South runner.
Jason from Overland Park, Kan.: I think the Steelers should stick with Dwyer if he is healthy. He seems to be a more decisive runner than the other two. He hits the hole hard and doesn't dance around like the other two seem to like to do. Both Redman and Mendenhall have seemed tentative when running this year, which especially for Redman is out of the ordinary.
Paul from Mooresville, N.C.: Isaac Redman runs hard, but he doesnt have that breakaway speed. Mendenhall... uugh. So much promise coming out of Illinois, but he consistantly looks like hes baffles by his own lineman. He can't find cutback and he seems confused as to where the holes are (or are going to be) and tries to bounce too many to the outside. And then there's Dwyer. He doesn't run the hardest (but runs hard enough), not the fastest (but he's sneaky quick) and he seems most comfortable with the ball in his hands (likely because he played at Georgia Tech).
Mark from Houston: No doubt that Dwyer is the guy, however, his conditioning is lacking. After two big runs, he disappears to the sideline for three or four plays. Get in shape minivan. The Nation needs you.