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Mehno: Dwyer will be needed when top 2 RBs return

October 31, 2012
By John Mehno - For the Mirror

PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer has consecutive 100-yard games, and has inspired comparisons to Jerome Bettis.

Of course, Dwyer is about 12,000 yards from really validating those comparisons, but there's definitely a resemblance. They're both bruising runners who have an ability to bounce away from initial contact and use their surprisingly nimble feet in the open field. Bettis wasn't a speed burner, and neither is Dwyer.

But that slam-first style takes a toll on a defense over the course of the game. Dwyer has run with an opportunity created when injuries forced Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman from the lineup.

There's been speculation about what happens to Dwyer when Mendenhall and Redman return, but that's not really a major issue. Given the way injuries pile up in the NFL, along with the short shelf life at the running back position, there will be work for Dwyer.

The Steelers are a work in progress at a lot of positions, including running back. The team needs productive players, and that's what Dwyer has been for the last two games. As badly as the running game stalled early in the season, there will be carries for Dwyer as long as he shows he can turn those chances into yards.

Fashion statement

Why were the Steelers wearing those silly throwback uniforms on Sunday?

It was to honor their past, of course. But mostly it was to sell merchandise. The Steelers sell a lot of jerseys every year. So once people have the basic home and road models, what's next on their shopping list?

It's alternates, of course. Over the past several years, the Steelers' throwback was the early 1960s look. Those sold well, but they leveled off after a point, too.

So the answer is to introduce a new one. Merchandising is a huge part of sports and a major source of revenue for the leagues.

The Pirates and Penguins have had great success with throwback or alternate looks, so the Steelers are jumping on that lucrative bandwagon. It's not as easy for the Steelers, since the team's basic uniform has changed only slightly in the last 40 years.

But there's no argument that the stripes they wore on Sunday are substantially different.

Bad calls

Yes, I'm the guy who said Jim Leyland wouldn't return. I also picked the Detroit Tigers to win the World Series.

It doesn't take replay to show both calls were 100 percent incorrect.

Leyland agreed on Tuesday to come back for at least one more season with the Tigers. When you have Justin Verlander at the top of the rotation with Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder in the middle of the lineup, it's hard to walk away.

Leyland will take one more shot at winning that second World Series, with a secondary goal of improving his Hall of Fame credentials.

Mehno can be reached at

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