Steelers notebook: Injuries force Dwyer to work overtime

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LANDOVER, Md. -- At this rate, the Steelers might be checking the waiver wire for running backs to have enough warm bodies on the roster for the rest of training camp.

The Steelers suffered three more injuries to their running backs Monday night in their second preseason game.

Nine days after his Steelers debut was postponed due to a left knee bruise, rookie running back Le'Veon Bell got the starting nod, but his stay on the field against the Washington Redskins was brief.

Bell, a second-round draft pick from Michigan State, left after the first drive with a foot injury and did not return. Coach Mike Tomlin described it as a mid-foot injury and said Bell will have an MRI today.

The first four plays for the Steelers were handoffs to Bell, who gained 9 yards. Bell and veteran Isaac Redman were listed as co-starters this week, but Redman did not dress after getting a stinger in practice last week.

Late in the first half, starting fullback Will Johnson injured his ribs when he received a hard hit over the middle. He did not return. In the third quarter, Baron Batch left with a stinger. In addition, LaRod Stephens-Howling, the leading rusher in the preseason opener against the New York Giants, has a knee strain and did not dress.

With the others banged up, Jonathan Dwyer got plenty of work and ran 14 times for 68 yards in three quarters.

"I was hoping Red and LaRod would go in the dressing room and get dressed up," Dwyer said afterward with a smile. "That's what I had to do. I had to step up and take responsibility to do what I had to do for my room and my team."

Dwyer ran especially well behind the first-team offensive line early.

"It was good," he said. "I wasn't supposed to go for three [quarters]. I had fun. We were moving the ball really well. We were beating ourselves."

Ben undaunted

The first-team offense has yet to account for a touchdown in two preseason games, but quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is not concerned about the lackluster performances.

"Our goal the first two games, no game plan, we said let's feature the back and establish an identity and run the ball," Roethlisberger said. "That's why I'm not putting too much stock into what's happening out there. There are a lot of plays in the passing game we're not taking advantage of because we're trying to run the ball."

Jones impressive

Rookie linebacker Jarvis Jones, the No. 1 pick out of Georgia, forced a fumble in the first half and played a lot of snaps with the first-team defense. This came one week after he recovered a fumble against the Giants.

"Anytime we can get the ball out and give our offense a chance to score some points, it's great for us," Jones said. "It's been good. I'm learning. I still have a long way to go. Our defense is so complex. But I'm learning.

"The older guys are helping me. I just have to continue to believe in myself and have confidence and keep grinding and working hard. I just have to continue to go out there and give it my all and find my role."

Count veteran linebacker LaMarr Woodley among those Jones has impressed.

"Jarvis is making a lot of big-time plays out there," Woodley said. "He is going to continue to make plays. He is still learning the defense.

"I think Jarvis is going to be good. He is getting better and better each game."

Another Jones impresses, too

Fourth-round pick Landry Jones, who has struggled in training camp, entered in the second half and led the Steelers to their first touchdown drive. Jones completed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Derek Moye to complete an eight-play, 76-yard drive. It was the first touchdown the offense produced in the preseason.

"He did a good job, got his first touchdown and completed a lot of good passes," Roethlisberger said.

Homecomings

New special-teams coach Danny Smith, who spent the past nine seasons in the same role with the Redskins, shook hands with members of Washington's coaching staff and others on the field before the game. Also returning to Fed Ex Field was safety Ryan Clark, who played for the Redskins in 2004 and 2005. Clark, who wears No. 25, still dons a No. 21 practice jersey in honor of former Redskins teammate Sean Taylor, who died in 2007.

Moorman unimpressive

Free-agent punter Brian Moorman, battling with incumbent Drew Butler, had punts of 40 and 36 yards. Moorman and Butler were listed as co-starters this week. Moorman handled the punting in the first half; Butler in the second.

Inactives

Other that did not dress for the Steelers: cornerback Cortez Allen (knee), linebackers Stevenson Sylvester (ankle) and Sean Spence (knee), offensive lineman Justin Cheadle (hamstring) and tight ends Heath Miller (knee), David Johnson (knee) and Matt Spaeth (foot).

Steelers

Ray Fittipaldo: rfititpaldo@post-gazette.com and Twitter @rayfitt1.


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