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mesaSteeler
10-06-2010, 01:12 AM
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Mendenhall should benefit from Big Ben's return
October 5th, 2010

The question of whether Ben Roethlisberger’s return to the Steelers benefits Rashard Mendenhall elicited a chuckle from Hines Ward.

“I don’t know if it helps Rashard,” Ward said Tuesday, following Roethlisberger's first practice with the Steelers since Sept. 1. “He’s still running the ball like crazy.”

Indeed, Mendenhall is second in the NFL in rushing (411 yards), and he is averaging a robust 4.6 yards a carry -- this despite the fact that the Steelers’ passing game ranks 31st out of 32 teams.

But there is no disputing that running room for the third-year back should be more plentiful assuming Roethlisberger quickly shakes off the rust from his four-week layoff and again plays like one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL.

Mendenhall has had to play two of four games against physical defenses (Titans and Ravens) that stacked the line of scrimmage to stop the run.

A more balanced offense can only help Mendenhall, and it might lighten his workload.

Mendenhall has the second-most carries in the NFL (89). At his current pace he would finish with the third-most carries in a season (356) in Steelers history.

The danger of relying on Mendenhall, who had 242 carries last season, so much is that he will either wear down or get hurt.

And he is one of the players the Steelers can least afford to lose to an injury.

The 5-10, 225-pound Mendenhall, it should be noted, is better equipped to handle the pounding running backs take than Willie Parker, his predecessor as the Steelers' feature back.

And after playing a full season in 2009, Mendenhall said he has learned how to pace himself over the grind of a 16-game season.

“You just train and get better at it because you know what’s expected, know what your body needs,” Mendenhall said. “I think it’s a normal experience of going through it and knowing what to do.”

Former Ravens coach Brian Billick had an interesting take on Roethlisberger missing the first four games of the season.

Billick, now an NFL analyst for FOX, said Roethlisberger's suspension, strictly from a football standpoint, “might be a real godsend to the Steelers because it kind of forces you to rely on other aspects of your team.”

Translation: the Steelers had to build this team around the running game and their defense.

They can now incorporate Roethlisberger into their offense, Billick said, rather than relying almost solely on the two-time Super Bowl winner when they have the ball.

As for adding a player of Roethlisberger’s caliber to a team that has won three of its first four games, Billick said, “To me, that kind of shoots them to the top of the AFC pyramid.”

SoCalFan
10-06-2010, 01:46 AM
Thats obvious,defenders now play back a bit,GO MENDY!!!!!!!!!

Fire Arians
10-06-2010, 01:54 AM
i dont think teams will try 8-9 in the box with ben under center. mendenhall's ypc will go up

MasterOfPuppets
10-06-2010, 01:54 AM
it kind of forces you to rely on other aspects of your team.”

yeah right...arians tossed those game plans sunday at 4:15 .... empty set, shotgun will be back.

NYC_Steeler
10-06-2010, 02:13 AM
We'll see what BA does - whether he keeps throwing 40 yard bombs on 3rd and 4 or whether he actually gets a brain and sees Mendy as a valuable asset. BA loves the air, so with Ben back, it just might become an aerial attack once again. We'll see.

pancake
10-06-2010, 04:28 AM
i dont think teams will try 8-9 in the box with ben under center. mendenhall's ypc will go up

:thumbsup: I agree, this ofense should have great balance!