Steelers to start RB Jonathan Dwyer
Jonathan Dwyer will start at running back Sunday when the Pittsburgh Steelers face the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, coach Mike Tomlin announced Tuesday.
Tomlin cited Dwyer's consistency as the reason he officially has been named the starter. The coach said he's also the Steelers' healthiest running back at the position.
"He's been consistently the most productive guy. I think we have a large enough body of work to be able to identify that at this point," Tomlin said. "Obviously, we've been working at less than ideal circumstances with the rotation and the shuffling of those guys due to health and lack of production. But over the course of the last several weeks, it's obvious that he is healthy and he is the most productive of the group."
Tomlin also said Tuesday that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has missed the last two games with shoulder and rib injuries, also threw the ball Monday and team will "leave door open" for him to play.
The Steelers have dropped both games Roethlisberger has missed, including a 13-10 loss to the Ravens in Pittsburgh two weeks ago. Byron Leftwich started the last game vs. Baltimore but missed last Sunday's loss with a rib injury. Charlie Batch started against the Browns and threw three costly interceptions.
At 6-5, the Steelers trail the first-place Ravens (9-2) by three games.
Longtime starter Rashard Mendenhall fumbled twice against the Browns, losing the ball once. Dwyer and fellow running backs Chris Rainey and Isaac Redman also lost fumbles. In all, the Steelers turned the ball over eight times.
Tomlin on Tuesday said that turnovers were "unacceptable."
Dwyer leads the Steelers in rushing with 429 yards in eight games. The Steelers have used a rotation at the position this season in large part to the health of Mendenhall, who had offseason surgery on his ACL and injured his Achilles after he returned.