By future, really the team expected Bell to take over as the starter by Week 1 of the regular season.
Unfortunately, though, Bell dealt with injuries through training camp and was forced to miss the team’s first preseason game. When he did make his debut in Week 2 of the preseason, Bell lasted just four carries before leaving the game with a foot injury and has been out ever since.
There wasn't any real definitive time table for when to expect Bell back on the field, which left the team with either Isaac Redman or Jonathan Dwyer as the starter. The Steelers then released Dwyer during final cuts, leaving Redman as the choice Week 1 versus the Tennessee Titans.
As painful as the whole team was to watch in that game, Redman had an especially bad performance. For the game, Redman finished with eight carries, nine yards and two fumbles.
It’s not a huge surprise that the running game struggled, because it struggled for most of last season. Losing Maurkice Pouncey in the first quarter to a knee injury didn’t help stabilize the situation either.
The real problem for Redman was the two fumbles, as the first was inside the 10-yard line on the opening drive of the game for the Steelers. The team had just been gifted two points by the Titans and had an opportunity get an easy nine-point lead early in the game. The offense moved down the field fairly easily after receiving the ball.
It was the closest to scoring Pittsburgh would come until there were about two minutes left in the fourth quarter. Blame could be given to Ben Roethlisberger on the exchange with Redman, but either way, the ball can’t be put on the ground in that situation.
The second fumble was on a second effort by Redman after being met in the backfield by a wall of defenders. Redman tried to spin in order to create room for himself and in the process fumbled the football. The good thing was that the Steelers recovered this one, though the damage had already been done.
Redman, not that he was lighting up the field anyway, then became completely nonexistent for the rest of the game.
With LaRod Stephens-Howling now lost for the season to a torn ACL, as reported by Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports, and the continuing uncertainty with Bell, the team has re-signed Jonathan Dwyer to the roster, according to Ed Bouchette of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
#Steelers will re-sign RB Jonathan Dwyer— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) September 9, 2013
I was a Dwyer supporter before he was cut from the team and thought he should have been the starter anyway. Now I would be surprised if Redman were given the starting job over Dwyer in Week 2.
Either way, we can only hope not to be subjected to that type of offensive performance by the team against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football.