The second day of mandatory minicamp is in full swing. The Pittsburgh Steelers have practice today and tomorrow before the team splits off for six weeks. The team will report to Latrobe on July 26 for training camp. One of the hot discussions this offseason for the Steelers is who will be the starting running back when September rolls around, and which half back will not be on the roster at all?
Jonathan Dwyer led the Steelers’ offense in their 26th ranked rushing attack with 623 yards and 2 touchdowns. The leading rusher on the team was heavily criticized last year when it seemed that he was out of breath after a play or two. When Mark Kaboly brought this up to Dwyer, he said:
“I guess it was because mine was more visible and I put my hand on top of my head,” Dwyer said. “Some guys just run out. I am the one who visually does it so you can see it. I am not a selfish guy. I am not going to take the ball and something bad happens. I am going to go as long as I go. There are many plays where I am out there for a long period of time. People just see when I tap out. You want the bulk of the carries but if you need a blow, you need a blow and then get back in.”
Dwyer also told Kaboly that he will be spending the next month down in Florida training with two of the league’s top running backs in Matt Forte of the Chicago Bears and Maurice Jones-Drew of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“I am going to do whatever I have to do in order to get ready, compete and keep my spot and to become my best,” Dwyer said. “This is the way I can take care of my family and take care of my wife and son. This is just another year to prove myself and become better than I was.”
Running back’s coach Kirby Wilson said:
“We just start them where we ended,” said Wilson. “There really is no pecking order other than that’s how we ended the season. Guys are jumping in accordingly and rotating themselves. There really is no rhyme or reason to it.”
As far as rookie running back Le’Veon Bell, Wilson says he will not start if he can not pick up the blitz.
“Pass protection because there is so much more technique involved,” Wilson said. “You are dealing with skilled pass rushers opposed to guys in college.”
Pass protection is the last thing rookie running backs usually pick up in technique. Every player seems to have their own motivation heading into training camp which could be a good thing. The standard is the standard Steeler Nation, every player needs to pack their lunch and go to work.