Steelers fans must have faith
PITTSBURGH – Welcome back, Jonathan Dwyer.
The Pittsburgh Steelers re-signed Dwyer, who was among their last cuts as the opening day rosters were set.
They don’t really want him, but they have no choice.
Third-down specialist LaRod Stephens-Howling was injured in Sunday’s season opener, so the Steelers were a man short at running back.
Coach Mike Tomlin said the Steelers were fortunate that Dwyer was still available. But were they?
During the off-season, general manager Kevin Colbert said the backs the Steelers had weren’t good enough.
They addressed that issue by using their second-round draft pick to select Le’Veon Bell.
As everyone knows, Bell was injured in training camp and was limited to four carries in the pre-season. He’s still out with a foot injury and there’s no firm date for his return.
The Steelers traded for former No. 1 draft pick Felix Jones late in training camp, and only needed a brief glimpse of him to determine he was a better option than Dwyer.
Dwyer is back now, because Bell is injured and Stephens-Howling is out.
So now they’re back to using a guy who they twice determined wasn’t good enough.
Dwyer can step in quickly because he knows the offense. He just isn’t very good at executing it.
Hard to believe there could be this big a mess after just one week of the regular season.
As gloomy as things look, there’s always the example of 1989. The Steelers lost the opener at home to Cleveland, 51-0. Then they went to Cincinnati and lost their second game, 41-10.
It looked like a disaster in the making. But from that point, they went 9-5 and made the playoffs.
Things don’t look promising, but there’s still a long way to go.
The Steelers’ offense had a different look with Heath Miller out of the lineup, still recovering from knee surgery.
Miller is usually one of Ben Roethlisberger’s favorite targets, a go-to guy especially when things are breaking down.
With Miller out, Roethlisberger targeted the tight end with just one pass of his 33 attempts against Tennessee.
The Steelers don’t have a true No. 1 running back and they’re missing Mike Wallace as a deep threat.
But Miller may be the offensive weapon they miss the most.
Finally a winner
The Pirates finally secured their 82nd win and ended the dreadful streak of losing seasons at 20 years.
Obviously the goals have become bigger as the team is competing for the division title and is in an excellent position to reach the postseason, if only as a wild card.
There are still three weeks to go, so the final number will be bigger than 82.
There was no jinx or curse involved in any of this. The Pirates are relevant again because they’ve made smart decisions and spent their money wisely.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org