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mesaSteeler
09-12-2009, 10:46 PM
Rushing Game Problems for Pittsburgh Steelers are in the Back Field.
by Nick Signorelli Columnist
Written on September 12, 2009
http://bleacherreport.com/articles/253067-rushing-game-problems-for-steelers-are-in-the-back-field/show_full

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 10: Running back Willie Parker #39 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs with the football against the Tennessee Titans at Heinz Field on September 10, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Titans 13-10 in overtime. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images) (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

The biggest weakness of the Pittsburgh Steelers entering the 2008 offseason was the offensive line. After the Steelers management made no real effort to improve the unit, many believed the Steelers were in for a long year.

It is debatable that the reason for the Steelers rushing game finishing 23rd in 2008, was that the offensive line was just not able to do their job. Starting out the 2009 season, the real culprit reared its ugly head, and the true identity of the weakness is no longer a secret.

The running game of the Pittsburgh Steelers, if you want to call it that, was non-existent in the season opening game Thursday on NBC. Starter Willie Parker carried the ball 13 times for 19 yards.

To make matters worse, one of those carries was for eight yards. His average minus his long run was less than one yard per carry.

Former first round pick Rashard Mendenhall had four carries for six yards, with a long of three, meaning other than his long, he averaged one yard per carry as well.

In the fourth quarter of the game, when the Steelers went to the "Lightning" package (no huddle offense), Mewelde Moore was the only running back on the field, and he managed eight yards on five carries. After his long of four yards, he also averaged one yard per carry.

Frank Summers started his first game at full back, and to say he did not play well, would be a compliment. On two separate third-and-one situations, the Tank plowed over nothing but himself, missing two critical blocks, that cost the Steelers two first downs.

A cold hard reality now face the Steelers, what happens next?

"Fast" Willie Parker looked anything but fast. Every time he touched the ball, he seemed to run directly into the defense of the Titans.

Not taking anything away from the Titans, their defense played a fantastic game, but "Fast" Willie did not look very fast. Nearing the dreaded age of 30, Willie Parker can no longer rely on his speed to just out run everyone on the field.

Playing in his contract year, Parker needs to show that he still has what it takes to be the feature back in the NFL. If tonight is any indication of how the year will go, Parker could be in his last year in the NFL.

Rashard Mendenhall, who was the Steelers 2008 first round pick, has done less than Parker. A players first year with the Steelers, they normally do not get a lot of quality playing time. Mendenhall was lost for the season five games into his rookie year.

In the preseason, while Parker was nursing injuries, Mendenhall got the start, and his chance to show that he was ready to take over the featured back role. What he showed, was he was afraid of getting injured again.

Every time Mendenhall was about to get hit, he seemed to duck, or fall, or run out of bounds. That is not what Steelers running back do.

The Steelers have a long history of having punishing running backs. From Franco Harris, Barry Foster, Bam Morris, and Jerome Bettis, the Steelers have big backs to pound of defenses, to wear them out, and win at the end.

Rashard Mendenhall is not the typical Steelers big back.

Mewelde Moore was brought to Pittsburgh to be a third down back. That is his role, that is his job. Catching passes out of the back field is where Moore excels, and when he is asked to do that, and only that, he does it well.

But, Moore is not a starter. He is not a runner that scares defensive coordinators, at least not rushing the ball.

If Moore is asked to carry the ball, he will never last an entire season, and the Steelers ground game will get no better.

Where do we go from here?

The Steelers next game is in Chicago, against the Bears. The Bears are another team that prides themselves on punishing people with their defense, as were the Titans.

So, what does Pittsburgh do about their ground game? Simple, start from scratch.

The Steelers identity is no longer the power running game, and punishing defense. The defense is still punishing, but the ground game is just not there.

It is time to cut the trends, realize that these Steelers are not your parents Steelers, and start from scratch.

Right now, there is a man that played with the Steelers this preseason, his name is Isaac Redman, and he is currently on the practice squad. He needs to be signed to the active roster immediately.

Is he the next Jerome Bettis? Doubtful. Could he do worse than Parker and Mendenhall? How much worse than one yard per carry could he be?

Redman was signed this offseason as an undrafted free agent. During the preseason, he carried the ball 37 times for 145 yards (3.9 per carry), and three touch downs. What was most impressive, his touch down run against the Carolina Panthers came with the Steelers second team in the game, and the Panthers first team defense.

On the run, Redman piled into the Panthers secondary, broke four tackles, and plowed his way into the end zone. One of those broken tackles was Julius Peppers.

Redman also scored in practice three times out of six, during the Steelers goal line drill, pitting first team offense against first team defense. If he can pound it in the end zone against the Steelers defense, then he can do it against anyone.

Justin Vincent is in his second go around with the Steelers, and like Redman, is also on the practice squad. Vincent did no where near as well in the preseason as Redman did, but the heart and determination he displayed, should at least get him a shot. Vincent could spell Redman, or play if Redman is injured.

I will be the first person to tell you that I am not sold on starting a rookie, and having even one in the back field makes me nervous. But at this point, what do the Steelers have to lose?

As long as the only options the Steelers have are "Slow" Willie Parker, and Rashard "Don't hit me" Mendenhall, I will take a running back that is not afraid to stick his neck out, and get the job done. Even if he is a rookie.

There is an old saying, those that do not learn from their mistakes, are bound to repeat them. The mistake the Steelers made this off season (and it is the only one I have noticed), was not bringing in someone that could push Mendenhall and Parker for playing time.

Keeping them could be a mistake that eventually costs the Steelers Lombardi No. 7.

X-Terminator
09-12-2009, 10:53 PM
Seriously, has anyone ever seen so many negative articles after a Steelers victory? Damn near EVERY article I've read has been nothing but doom and gloom.

MasterOfPuppets
09-12-2009, 10:55 PM
:jerkit:

sharkweek
09-12-2009, 10:57 PM
No doubt he's trying to mix something up by setting himself apart from the unanimous voice of all the other analysts

He's either got a lot of balls or just isn't too bright to make a call like this based off of one game. Anyone doing a prognosis of where our OL would get us after the Eagles raped us last season would have suggested missing the play offs all together, but things obviously happened differently.

MasterOfPuppets
09-12-2009, 10:58 PM
Seriously, has anyone ever seen so many negative articles after a Steelers victory? Damn near EVERY article I've read has been nothing but doom and gloom.
i like how these fools seem to dismiss the fact that the Dlinemen are in the backfield before the rb's take a step... but i'm sure a rb that runs a 4.7 forty would do much better...:coffee:

GridironWarrior
09-12-2009, 11:02 PM
If we had the Titants oline Wille and Rashard would be slash and dash or whatever nickname they want. Those 5 up front of hurting the running game. i don't know if the scheme or their general lack of talent.

wootawnee
09-12-2009, 11:09 PM
Kinda weird first game of the season.....Seems every other first game Willie ran for a ton of yards........But then again that was Houston a couple of times, the old Titans that sucked, and Cleveland........The Titans might have the best D line in the league this year........We never run well against the Ravens either.........You just gotta get back at next week and try to run over da Bears.......We'll see.........Now we know how every other team we play feels.......Except they got an excuse, they played th #1 D......Like I said, if the Titans keep this up ,they will be the best line in the league..........

Sharkissle29
09-12-2009, 11:22 PM
I feel dumber having read this article

SteelC7
09-12-2009, 11:48 PM
man i am so sick of hearing "the steelers are in trouble" weve "been in trouble" for years now these writers just copy each others articles about the steelers run game then add some smart ass remark extra. im with x terminator, ive never heard so much trash talking after a victory in my life for any team

The Lakelander
09-13-2009, 12:55 AM
Good run defenses bring the worst out of teams that are supposed to be running teams.

I've got no hard data, but I can remember long ago watching games where Franco just didn't get much yardage. He too had his regrettable games occasionally.

It's OK for the Steelers defense to shut down 31 other NFL rushing attacks regularly. But God forbid when a good stout NFL rush defense shuts down our RB's.

I love the way Redman runs. And I like to pull for the underdog. I'd love to see him get his shot some day.

For now, everyone will STFU when Parker gashes a softer defense. Parker's a gamer and he wears his pride on his sleeve.

LVSteelersfan
09-13-2009, 01:13 AM
How well did Chris Johnson and Fat Boy run against the Steelers? Not well. Same difference. But no one is bashing them.

mmalone
09-13-2009, 07:16 AM
Seriously, has anyone ever seen so many negative articles after a Steelers victory? Damn near EVERY article I've read has been nothing but doom and gloom.

FLASHBACK::::::

Steelers vs Browns -- When the Browns had Arians...

read this:::: Sound familiar:::: In Reverse:::: of course we won.....

From the Plain Dealer...

The Browns held the Steelers without a first down for the first and third quarters, and held them under 100 total yards through three quarters of play. You're supposed to win when you do that.

The play-calling down inside the 10-yard line (on those two possessions on which we scored a total of zero points) was pretty lame. I'd like to be a bug on the wall in that postgame meeting between Butch Davis and Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians. I know the natives are restless. Between the men's room group therapy session after the game, and the hike back up to 9th and Lakeside, I listened to a lot of fans sounding off, and the griping centered mostly on QB Kelly Holcomb's two devastating interceptions ("I told you Couch is the man!") and the questionable play-calling by Arians (or Davis?).

I do know that you can't lay the blame for this loss on the much-maligned offensive line.

end Plain Dealer article:

wow;;;;;;;; i know, execution not play calling....

:banging:

HometownGal
09-13-2009, 07:21 AM
Seriously, has anyone ever seen so many negative articles after a Steelers victory? Damn near EVERY article I've read has been nothing but doom and gloom.

I know - it's sickening. It was ONE game for God's sake and against a damned good D. :banging: The Tites shut just about every running game down.

steelpride12
09-13-2009, 10:12 AM
I know - it's sickening. It was ONE game for God's sake and against a damned good D. :banging: The Tites shut just about every running game down.

:thumbsup: I know! Ive been saying that through all these threads. One game and its not like we even lost, WE WON IT!
Seriously the Titans will have a top 10 defense this season and the Steelers still found a way to win. Its too early to be smack talking our own run game and OL, but im the sure the post will continue to grow. :banging:

xbroughneck
09-13-2009, 02:31 PM
If we had the Titants oline Wille and Rashard would be slash and dash or whatever nickname they want. Those 5 up front of hurting the running game. i don't know if the scheme or their general lack of talent.

I'd bet they wouldn't. Players execute, but coaching is suppose to put players in the position to succeed. That's what they get paid for.

The Steelers are no longer a running team.

Take the Vikes 2 best offensive linemen, swap them with our two worst, stick Adrian Peterson in our offensive scheme and there would be 20 teams in this league with a better rushing attack than us (And that is with us playing 4 games against the Browns and Bengals)

KeiselPower99
09-13-2009, 03:22 PM
Im so damn tired of hearing and seeing all these running game problem articles and threads. Itll get better I guarantee it. Tomlin will find a way to make the running game work.

Mags87
09-13-2009, 05:05 PM
i have really gross tits

X-Terminator
09-13-2009, 06:06 PM
FLASHBACK::::::

Steelers vs Browns -- When the Browns had Arians...

read this:::: Sound familiar:::: In Reverse:::: of course we won.....

From the Plain Dealer...

The Browns held the Steelers without a first down for the first and third quarters, and held them under 100 total yards through three quarters of play. You're supposed to win when you do that.

The play-calling down inside the 10-yard line (on those two possessions on which we scored a total of zero points) was pretty lame. I'd like to be a bug on the wall in that postgame meeting between Butch Davis and Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians. I know the natives are restless. Between the men's room group therapy session after the game, and the hike back up to 9th and Lakeside, I listened to a lot of fans sounding off, and the griping centered mostly on QB Kelly Holcomb's two devastating interceptions ("I told you Couch is the man!") and the questionable play-calling by Arians (or Davis?).

I do know that you can't lay the blame for this loss on the much-maligned offensive line.

end Plain Dealer article:

wow;;;;;;;; i know, execution not play calling....

:banging:

Only you can take a post that has absolutely nothing to do with BA...and make it about BA.

You really need to do something about that hard-on you have for him. The rest of us are starting to think you're creepy.

fansince'76
09-13-2009, 06:12 PM
FLASHBACK::::::

Steelers vs Browns -- When the Browns had Arians...

read this:::: Sound familiar:::: In Reverse:::: of course we won.....

From the Plain Dealer...

The Browns held the Steelers without a first down for the first and third quarters, and held them under 100 total yards through three quarters of play. You're supposed to win when you do that.

The play-calling down inside the 10-yard line (on those two possessions on which we scored a total of zero points) was pretty lame. I'd like to be a bug on the wall in that postgame meeting between Butch Davis and Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians. I know the natives are restless. Between the men's room group therapy session after the game, and the hike back up to 9th and Lakeside, I listened to a lot of fans sounding off, and the griping centered mostly on QB Kelly Holcomb's two devastating interceptions ("I told you Couch is the man!") and the questionable play-calling by Arians (or Davis?).

I do know that you can't lay the blame for this loss on the much-maligned offensive line.

end Plain Dealer article:

wow;;;;;;;; i know, execution not play calling....

:banging:

http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb136/garyb12001/parrot.jpg

BWAAAK! Arians sucks! Arians sucks! Arians sucks! BWAAAK! BWAAAK!

Steeldude
09-13-2009, 08:33 PM
of course it's only one game, but it looks like almost all of the games last year in terms of running the ball. perhaps next week will be different. what happens if the offense can only manage 1 yard per carry for the next 7 games? will people be saying, "it's only 7 games"? :chuckle:

here are some points that could be the reasons why the steelers had trouble running the ball...

1. titans have a very good run defense...or...
2. it was the first game of the new season. some teams starts slow...or...
3. predictable run plays...or...
4. RBs displayed poor vision and quickness to the hole...or...

KeiselPower99
09-13-2009, 10:41 PM
I want yall to think about one thing here. How many top defences did we play last year? A good defense will shut down a running game. This aint nothing to do with the O line or Arians or even the RBs. This is a credit to the teams we have played.

tyler289
09-13-2009, 11:04 PM
Can we put a ban on bleacher report? It's just people who pretend they have credibility. Aka, regular fans - LOL

Steely McSmash
09-13-2009, 11:40 PM
...Frank Summers started his first game at full back, and to say he did not play well, would be a compliment. On two separate third-and-one situations, the Tank plowed over nothing but himself, missing two critical blocks, that cost the Steelers two first downs....



Valid criticism of Summers, looked just like Carey Davis!


.... Every time he touched the ball, he seemed to run directly into the defense of the Titans.


And is the O-line, playcalling, fullback etc. supposed to keep the defense of the Titans away from the RB perhaps?

Galax Steeler
09-14-2009, 04:20 AM
The problem I saw was the Titans was getting into the backfield before we had a chance to run the ball. It all starts up front and if we could block then we could get a running game going. I saw alot of missed blocks in that game.

kirklandrules
09-14-2009, 11:16 AM
Yes, it's only one game and not the time to panic. However, this game showed the 2008 trend has obviously not been corrected, yet. Remember last year we were all waiting for the time that line would gell and suddenly the run game would click ... didn't happen. It pisses me off to see 2nd and 1, then 3rd and 1, then a punt. And BTW, I saw very few 8 men in the box alignments from the Titans. Generally, they sat with 6 and 7 in the box. I'm really glad to see the pass protection pick up in the 2nd half, but that line still stunk on run blocking. The Bus would have had a bad day running behind those slobs. As they say, run blocking is about having the will to get it done and these guys obviously don't have the will.

But as much as we can sit here bitching about this stuff .... there are very good Steelers coaches reviewing game film in slow motion and asking their players "WTF?". Remember, Marvel Smith, Alan Faneca, Jeff Hartings and even Simmons (when it comes to run blocking) were seasoned players with strong run blocking will power. We have a very young, inexperienced line in comparison and sooner or later their pride will kick in, they'll grow a pair jibblets and they'll use their 320 + pound fat asses to make a hole.

And it's not like FWP was running like a man on the last year of his contract. I made the comment during the game that he looked like he was made of glass. Often times starting for the turf prior to contact and not making the cut that would lead to daylight.