PITTSBURGH -- Jonathan Dwyer will play in the Steelers’ final preseason game as he had hoped. Isaac Redman won’t get a chance to suit up at Carolina on Thursday despite his best lobbying efforts to do so.
Dwyer figures to get the least amount of work of the three considering how extensively he has played in the Steelers’ past two games. Stephens-Howling is returning to action after missing the past two games because of a mild knee sprain. Jones, meanwhile, will get one final opportunity to prove to the Steelers coaches that he belongs on the 53-man roster, which has to be finalized by 6 p.m. ET on Saturday.
“Obviously we’ve got a lot of backs we need to sort through so we’re going to look at some of those others,” Tomlin said.
That Redman (stinger) won’t play actually bodes well for the fourth-year veteran opening the season as the Steelers’ starting running back. The coaches apparently don’t need to see any more from Redman, who played in just one preseason game and gained 7 yards on two carries.
Whether Dwyer, Stephens-Howling and Jones are competing for two spots remains to be seen.
Rookie Le’Veon Bell, who is nursing a foot sprain, is a lock to make the team. So too is Redman.
I’ve got to think Dwyer and Stephens-Howling are safe and that the decision on Jones will come down to whether the Steelers carry an extra running back on the 53-man roster until Bell returns.
Also notable from Tomlin’s news conference:
Rookie outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (chest) has been ruled out for Thursday night. The Steelers are being cautious with Jones, who spent last Saturday night in the hospital after an awkward fall at the end of an interception return.
Tomlin did not say how much the starters will play against the Panthers. If history (and common sense) is any guide most of the starters won’t play more than a series.“The healthy guys are going to play in some capacity,” Tomlin said. “I might select a guy or two to minimize because I want to see others.”Two of those are likely to be quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and backup Bruce Gradkowski as rookie Landry Jones will “get the big bulk of the action,” Tomlin said.
There don’t appear to be many roster spots on the line Thursday night. One thing Tomlin has emphasized to his players, particularly the young linebackers who are fighting for jobs, is what they do on special teams will be more important than anything else against Carolina.“I think we need more consistent, above the line effort from some of those guys in that regard,” Tomlin said.