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Steelers to Start Issac Redman at RB for Week 1


With Le’Veon Bell injured and Jonathan Dwyer cut, the Pittsburgh Steelers may seem a bit thin at the running back position, but they’ll still have an experienced rusher carrying the rock for them in Sunday’s week 1 battle against the Tennessee Titans.

According to ESPN.com, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin announced on Tuesday that Issac Redman will start at running back in the team’s season opener. Redman was originally expected to split time with Bell, but with Bell unavailable, Redman should see plenty of touches.

“We know what Isaac is capable of. He’s answered the bell for us in the past,” Tomlin said at his weekly news conference. “We expect him to do it in a big way moving forward.”

Redman only has 273 career carries in three seasons, but has been a solid reserve for the Steelers as a change-of-pace type of back. His small frame and agile running style presents would-be tacklers with a difficult target and his experience in the Steelers system should give the team confidence in giving him a larger workload.

However, Redman may not play as a typical feature back and instead share some of that workload with Pittsburgh’s two other runners, Felix Jones and LaRod Stephens-Howling. Both reserves – who were acquired in a trade with the Eagles two weeks ago – were strong in the preseason and will at least give the Steelers more capable options come Sunday.

“We’re continuing to get to know Felix,” Tomlin said. “We like his natural run instincts. He quickly proved that he can do some positive things in terms of running the football.”

Even if the Steelers operate a running-back-by-committee system, they should still be able to get solid production out of the ground game, especially against the Titans, who ranked 24th in the NFL in defending the rush last season. That said, don’t expect Pittsburgh to shy away from running the ball and don’t expect their edge at home to be effected much by their current running back situation, if at all.

Of course, Redman would love to take advantage of his new opportunity and earn the starting spot for the rest of the season for his own sake.

“If everything holds up and I stay healthy,” Redman said, “I’m planning on going out there and performing and [keeping the coaches from] wanting to put anyone else in.”

We’ll see what approach they go with on Sunday, but no matter what, we like the Steelers to cover -6.5 points at home against the Titans.

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