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mesaSteeler
10-05-2009, 09:46 PM
Rashard Mendenhall: One-Week Wonder, or Sign of Things to Come?
http://nfl.fanhouse.com/2009/10/05/rashard-mendenhall-one-week-wonder-or-sign-of-things-to-come/
Posted Oct 05, 2009 3:25PM By Dan Graziano (RSS feed)

One week removed from Mike Tomlin's doghouse, second-year Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall was the biggest man on the field.PITTSBURGH -- Mike Tomlin wouldn't play along. Oh, it sounded like a good story. Rashard Mendenhall, the Steelers' young backup running back, was benched in Week 3 because Tomlin didn't think he was paying close enough attention to his playbook. Mendenhall was contrite, and spent the week telling folks he hoped he'd get a second chance because he knew what he'd done wrong and was determined to make up for it. Willie Parker, the starting running back, went down with a toe injury, and Mendenhall stepped in and shredded the Chargers on national TV. Great story, but Tomlin says he isn't buying.

"I'm not going to take any credit for that," the Steelers' coach said when asked if he felt he'd motivated Mendenhall. "I didn't rush for a yard tonight."

That put Tomlin 165 yards behind Mendenhall, who had more rushing yards than anybody else in the NFL on Sunday. He posted the highest rushing total by a Steeler since Parker had 223 on Dec. 7, 2006, and he became the first Steeler not named Ben Roethlisberger to run for a touchdown this year. And while all anybody wanted to talk about Sunday was the big night the kid had and the crucial victory that moved the defending champs back to .500, those 165 yards could mean a lot more to the Steelers than one early-October win.

"I was able to be me and be comfortable," Mendenhall said. "All I wanted was a chance to be out there and for people to see me and who I am, because people haven't seen me play too much to this point."

Rashard Mendenhall, you may or may not remember, is supposed to be a star. He was a first-round draft pick. The Steelers selected him 23rd overall in 2008. With the very next pick after that, the Tennessee Titans took a guy of whom you may have heard. Guy by the name of Chris Johnson. Coming out of the University of Illinois, Mendenhall struck the Steelers as a back around whom they could build the future of their running game.

But "future" doesn't have to mean "distant future," and in the NFL the smart teams know that. The Steelers are 2-2, looking up at both the Bengals and the Ravens (one of whom will be 4-1 this time next week) in the AFC North. If Parker's toe injury is going to linger, or if Parker has simply lost a step, and if Mendenhall is healthy and with the program, there's nothing that's going to stop the Steelers from giving him the ball. Maybe he and Parker split touches when and if Parker comes back. Maybe he leaves Parker in the dust and finishes the season as the feature back. Anything's possible, and the fact that Mendenhall played the way he did Sunday night against the Chargers shows you that he's capable of handling the job.

"Rashard definitely proved himself tonight," Pittsburgh tackle Max Starks said. "He was toting the rock with authority."

Which is what the Steelers and their fans have been waiting to see for the past year and a half. For one night, he showed everybody a glimpse of what he was supposed to be. He made the much-maligned Steelers offensive line look all-world. He led an offense that couldn't be stopped when the other team was desperate to stop it. He backed up a confidence his coach claims has not wavered.

"I don't lack confidence in Rashard, even prior to tonight," Tomlin said. "He's a very talented young man, a good guy. He went through what some guys go through. He addressed it and moved forward, and tonight he showed what he's capable of doing. He needs to continue to do that and build off of that as we move forward. I'm sure that's his mindset, but we're going to make sure that our actions match our mentality."

Translation: Mendenhall is still young, and he's still learning. But he's also very, very good. And if he's going to be that, then he can help the Steelers, this year, right now. And the Steelers aren't going to be afraid to let him.

STEELERS'CHICK0609
10-06-2009, 12:26 AM
Mendenhall did a great job in the game against the Chargers. I think that the message was received and he proved it! Willie Parker who?

stlrtruck
10-06-2009, 08:43 AM
I've been thinking about this the last two nights, and I wonder is the question so much about the RBs or the way our O-line actually performed?

Hell I think even I could have gained 80 yards Sunday night with the holes those guys were making.

HometownGal
10-06-2009, 08:47 AM
I've been thinking about this the last two nights, and I wonder is the question so much about the RBs or the way our O-line actually performed?

Hell I think even I could have gained 80 yards Sunday night with the holes those guys were making.

I agree and the OL deserves a huge heaping spoonful of credit for Mendy having so much success against the Chargers. Not that he isn't a diamond in the rough himself and his hard work didn't make a huge contribution to the success of the running game, but I want to see Mendy and the OL continue to dominate with the running attack before I go gaga over him and even consider throwing Parker under the bus.

revefsreleets
10-06-2009, 12:39 PM
Mendenhall simply did what most of us who saw him run in college knew he was capable of doing. This is no exception, more like rule (although I don't expect 170 yards rushing from him every week, especially splitting carries with Parker).

steelpride12
10-06-2009, 01:42 PM
Well IMO I think its how well the other teams we play play defense. Mendy ran all over a 28th ranked defense with their nose tackle and D line banged up. Of course the OL helped him out huge Sunday as well.
This has been the same situation as Parker has been in the last few seasons. He looks good against the Browns and the Chargers, but against the Ravens he plays terrible. I think it all depends on the defense we play and how well the OL plays.

RoethlisBURGHer
10-06-2009, 03:48 PM
I am excited over his performance, but I would like to see him do this on a regular basis and not just against teams with bad run defenses.

I do however think he has earned the role of starter with his performance. Lets see what he does against Minnesota and Baltimore.

Pittsky
10-06-2009, 03:50 PM
parker had a 100+ game against the chargers last time we played them...mendy's true test will be against viking's or browns...if parker isnt back by then

TackleMeBen
10-06-2009, 03:51 PM
Mendy is up for Player of the Week..
http://www.nfl.com/partner?partnerType=players-air-and-ground

Carolina Steelers
10-06-2009, 04:00 PM
I know it was the Chargers but still its not his fault who he plays against I like the way he finished runs and he ran hard everytime he had a chance and also picked up the blitz a couple of times

Galax Steeler
10-06-2009, 04:06 PM
Mendy is up for Player of the Week..
http://www.nfl.com/partner?partnerType=players-air-and-ground

I hope he wins it I got my vote in.

MasterOfPuppets
10-06-2009, 04:14 PM
this has NOTHING to do with the guy lined up behind ben, but everything to do with the 5 oafs in the front. :doh:

Steeldude
10-06-2009, 05:09 PM
i think most of the credit to the running attack goes to the O-line, but mendenhall did play very well attacking those holes and showing good vision. :thumbsup:

my beef with mendenhall in sunday's games was his habit of running too upright when making contact(at times) and holding the ball rather carelessly. baltimore will see that.

overall a very good performance by mendhenhall and the O-line. i hope they can continue to build on it. i don't expect them to have games like that every week, but it shouldn't go back to what it was in the titans' game.

i want to see how they do against a better defense too. beating up on a weak defense is fun and can boost morale, but lets see it against one of the better defenses. :tt03:

rich4eagle
10-06-2009, 05:11 PM
Mendehall, played great.

Great least post by Mesa.

this bodes well for the Steelers

What I saw was an impact back........is it real...........it will take more games

but he is quality and talented......the real test is will he be motivated and play as a team member

the last makes a winner

Good job Reshard

BigBenFn7
10-06-2009, 05:20 PM
I think he is for real. Sure the O-Line was opening up some great holes but he was running the ball hard, with determination. This kid really had a fire in his eyes and it showed in his stats. I'm really interested in seeing where he goes from here.

OX1947
10-06-2009, 05:26 PM
Mendenhall is a stud. he has the talent and the skills to be an all pro. Parker has 3 months left with the Steelers. I love what Parker has done for Pittsburgh over the Last 5 years, but Mendenhall is a 22 yr old stud. If not now, next year, it will have to be his position.

AllD
10-06-2009, 06:32 PM
Is it a matter of motivation, aka Ricky Williams? Can he hold onto the ball? Can he string together a series of 100+ rushing games sprinkled in with a few catches?

If he is motivated after all the media attention and does well, the rest of the NFL is on notice. If he can rush downhill and catch, then that is something we haven't seen since Franco.

He did not have the divine beginning that Franco had (but who has) and got injured after testing karma and opening his mouth against the team that ended his season last year. Can he come back and overplay his contact?

Tomlin will leave him in until he slows down. That is for sure.

MasterOfPuppets
10-06-2009, 06:57 PM
i want to see how they do against a better defense too. beating up on a weak defense is fun and can boost morale, but lets see it against one of the better defenses. :tt03:
minnesota 3 weeks.... they'll have thier hands full with jared allen....good luck kemo and starks....ugh

Galax Steeler
10-07-2009, 05:11 AM
my beef with mendenhall in sunday's games was his habit of running too upright when making contact(at times) and holding the ball rather carelessly. baltimore will see that.


I agree Steeldude that is the biggest thing I have noticed about him as well. If he keeps that up it won't be long until teams start noticing that and will start forcing fumbles.

steelwalls
10-07-2009, 05:50 AM
Fast footwork as soon as the ball is handed to you and commit to the hole.....keep low and the legs moving... fundamentals.....

Except for running a bit high at times the other night I saw good fundimentals from Mendenhall we dont need anything flashy get us 3.5 per carry (4 then we're talking) and we will tear defences apart.

If this was his week to proove it, he did, sigh..... but still too early, he has more to proove.

Steelboy84
10-07-2009, 10:10 AM
Mendy will get stronger as the season goes along. This will motivate Willie hopefully.

lilyoder6
10-07-2009, 10:23 AM
mendy did run the ball well..

i would like to see how he re-acts next game against det.. now he should have an easier day against them.. but u never know..

but last game could of meant that willie will not be getting that big contract from the steelers if mendy keeps on playing like last game

sharkweek
10-07-2009, 01:27 PM
Mendy is up for Player of the Week..
http://www.nfl.com/partner?partnerType=players-air-and-ground

god I hope Garrard wins

way too much slobbing over Favre and Manning. Heck, Ben had better fantasy stats than Manning but of course Manning is up there instead.

steeltheone
10-07-2009, 01:43 PM
Just keep in mind...The chargers were a bad rush Defense Unlike the Titans, Bears and even Cincy...It's a good booster, but not at all a true test.

revefsreleets
10-08-2009, 09:53 AM
The fact that SD is weak against the run could only figure into this argument if we struggled against them in that category. We did not.