Prisuta: Get Well Fast, Le'Veon

Mike Prisuta wades through Le'Veon Bell's replacements and can't find anyone worthy.

It was more a start than a statement for Felix Jones on a night when Jonathan Dwyer also failed to announce his presence with authority.

The picture at running back, thus, remains uncomfortably unresolved with just one dress rehearsal remaining.

The presumptive starter at the position, Le'Veon Bell, is perceived to be week-to-week after lasting just one series in his only preseason action before departing with a mid-foot sprain.

The officially-listed co-starter at the position, Isaac Redman, didn't play Saturday night against Kansas City, the second consecutive preseason effort Redman has missed.

And LaRod Stephens-Howling also sat out the Kansas City game (MCL sprain), the second time he's been shelved in three preseason weeks.

All of that compelled the Steelers to call Philadelphia for a healthy body and part with on-his-way-out-the-door-anyway linebacker Adrian Robinson to secure one.

So they didn't give up much from a deep position, and they're not expecting Franco Harris in return.

But nor is Jones this year's DuJuan Harris, assuming a few meaningless preseason carries before being dispatched almost as quickly as he was acquired in the first place.

Jones, assuming he has enough left of what he had in Dallas, is said to be a potential dynamic complement to whoever starts at running back because of his burst and his ability to contribute as a runner and a pass-catcher.

Scouts and coaches don't apply that "dynamic" label to just anybody, but Jones, potentially, could still be such a player.

He hasn't been able to stay healthy enough to be "the guy" in anyone's backfield. But he's described by those who should know as a hard worker, a good teammate and a willing competitor.

Jones' most memorable moment against Kansas City occurred when he ran out of bounds when he should have stayed in bounds on third-and-13 from the Steelers' 34-yard line with 1:29 remaining in the second quarter.

Presumably, he knows better.

All but two of Jones' eight carries and all but 7 of his team-leading 29 rushing yards came against Kansas City's sub-defense. The idea was to not put too much on his plate the first time out.

Jones was underwhelming while not being overloaded.

Dwyer worked against the front-liners and was OK on the way to an 8-carry, 25-yard night, including the hauling in of a 13-yard touchdown pass. But he also whiffed completely on a pass protection and got Ben Roethlisberger sacked. And pass protection is supposed to be one of Dwyer's strengths.

It wasn't the type of performance that left you thinking Dwyer is suddenly trustworthy, suddenly less mistake-prone, suddenly grasping the sense of urgency that has seemingly eluded him for so long.

Bottom line, there are still a lot of questions regarding Dwyer. Enough that it's worth contemplating whether Jones can be that dynamic complement to Redman while Bell mends.

Jones began the difficult process of trying to prove to the Steelers that he can be that guy on Saturday night, one day after the Steelers had acquired him.

He'll have until Thursday night at Carolina to pull it off.

Jones arrived with a first-round pedigree, but also after the Eagles had apparently seen enough. And Jones is coming off a sub-par fifth NFL season in Dallas in 2012, when he averaged a career-low 3.6 yards per carry and amassed 402 rushing yards, better only than the 266 he gained in six games as a rookie.

That the Steelers were willing to provide him a "legitimate chance" at this late stage of the preseason -- what's being afforded Jones was described to me as exactly that -- probably says as much about Dwyer as it does Jones.

And about Bell, who navigated his way off the Heinz Field turf on crutches and with his right foot in a boot.

Steel City Insider Top Stories