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mesaSteeler
01-30-2011, 12:58 AM
Steelers' Mendenhall stepping up in status
Sunday, January 30, 2011
By Ron Musselman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11030/1121332-66.stm
Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall had 167 yards rushing in the playoffs.

Steelers tailback Rashard Mendenhall has dazzled his teammates this season with his nifty moves. Fast and powerful, he runs hard inside and outside.

"Rashard's explosive," wide receiver Hines Ward said. "He can hit the home run ball. He has great footwork. I thought Jerome [Bettis] had great feet for his size. But I look at some of the cuts that Mendenhall's been making, and I say, 'Wow, this guy can be really special.' "

Mendenhall, 5 feet 10 and 225 pounds, is the third-leading rusher in the playoffs with 167 yards on 47 carries. He also has rushed for three postseason touchdowns entering the Super Bowl against the Green Bay Packers next Sunday at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

"I think the light finally came on for him," Ward said. "It usually takes about three or four years for that to happen, and I think he's starting to realize that he could be a great asset in this league, a great superstar in this league.

"I look for him to have another big game."

Mendenhall had 95 of his game-high 121 yards and a touchdown in the first half of the Steelers' 24-19 victory Jan. 23 against the New York Jets in the AFC championship game at Heinz Field. He also had two catches for 32 yards, giving him three for 45 yards in the playoffs.

"I guess you could say I am pretty versatile," Mendenhall said. "I do whatever is necessary at the time, whether it's making somebody miss a tackle, running through somebody or outrunning somebody. I know I have to be able to do what the situation calls for."

After the victory against the Jets, Mendenhall stood on a makeshift stage at Heinz Field with Pro Football Hall of Fame members Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier, who each earned four Super Bowl rings while playing together in the backfield in the Steelers' glory days of the 1970s.

"It means a lot when you hear the names of guys like Franco, Jerome, Rocky Bleier and Willie Parker," Mendenhall said. "It's such a great tradition to be part of.

"But I think there's a lot more work I have to do to be mentioned in the same breath with those guys."

Although Mendenhall scored two rushing touchdowns in a 31-24 victory against the Baltimore Ravens in an AFC divisional playoff game, he was held to just 46 yards rushing on 20 carries and lost a fumble.

Afterward, Peter King of Sports Illustrated criticized Mendenhall's play.

"[He] is just not a big-time back," King wrote.

Mendenhall shrugged off King's criticism.

"I don't get too much into that," he said. "People are going to say good things and bad things about you. I try to keep it as normal and steady as possible."

Mendenhall, a first-round draft pick from Illinois in 2008, ranked fifth in the AFC and seventh in the NFL in rushing with a career-high 1,273 yards in the 2010 regular season.

He also ran for a career-high 13 rushing touchdowns -- the most since Willie Parker had 13 in 2006 -- and he led the Steelers in scoring with 78 points.

Mendenhall, who has four 100-yard rushing games this season, including the playoffs, was the first running back to lead the team in scoring in the regular season since Harris scored 11 touchdowns in 1977. (Harris also holds the team record with 14 rushing touchdowns in a season, set in 1976).

"I think Rashard's had a great season," said offensive tackle Max Starks, who is on injured reserve with a neck injury. "The way he's been running has been consistent. And he has great patience and power and speed."

Mendenhall, who played in just four games as a rookie in 2008 after suffering a season-ending shoulder injury, has put together back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. He ran for 1,108 yards on 242 carries and seven touchdowns in '09, his second NFL season.

"I think I've grown a lot as a player," Mendenhall said. "For me, personally, it won't stop. I will continue to keep working. I feel like I can get more experience with every year, every season.

"To me, I just want to continue to grow and improve until I'm done playing."
Ron Musselman: rmusselman@post-gazette.com.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11030/1121332-66.stm#ixzz1CV1Tst2T

steelers33
01-30-2011, 01:20 AM
Yah I hope he proves Peter King wrong I think that guy is a douchebag. I think Mendy has everything that you would want in a back physically but he can improve mentally. He can improve his vision but I guess that comes with experience. Also one of his best attributes can get him in trouble sometimes. That he is shuffling his feet to much and not hitting the hole full steam, but that also allows him to bounce those runs outside. Then again, I don't know if there is that many holes behind this offensive line.

Third Rail
01-30-2011, 01:42 AM
Yeah... be careful what you say about proving Peter King wrong. This is the guy who predicted at the beginning of the season that the Steelers would face the Packers in Super Bowl XLV and that we would beat them.

In other words, I like Mendy, but I'd couldn't care less if he ran for 2 total yards next week as long as we win the game.

El Nino
01-30-2011, 02:01 AM
mendenhall will have a big game

cmdrfunk
01-30-2011, 02:25 AM
Yeah... be careful what you say about proving Peter King wrong. This is the guy who predicted at the beginning of the season that the Steelers would face the Packers in Super Bowl XLV and that we would beat them.

I

And the same guy who backed off that prediction when the playoffs started and said the Patriots would be there instead.

steelers33
01-30-2011, 03:01 AM
Yeah... be careful what you say about proving Peter King wrong. This is the guy who predicted at the beginning of the season that the Steelers would face the Packers in Super Bowl XLV and that we would beat them.

In other words, I like Mendy, but I'd couldn't care less if he ran for 2 total yards next week as long as we win the game.

Yeah but he changed his pick and went on the Patriots band wagon just like everyone else did. I think Mendy is going to have to have a pretty effective game if the Steelers want to win. So good game in Super Bowl= big time back, Mendy big time back= proving Peter King wrong.

SacknificentStew56
01-30-2011, 10:41 AM
Who cares what Peter King thinks? He's a great sports writer and Cheatriot lover who's not recognizing Mendy's numbers are improving each season. He's gonna run for over 100 yds.

TRH
01-30-2011, 12:44 PM
Mendenhall's so quick he sometimes has trouble getting around his own blockers. The "stutter-stepping" doesn't always work and he gets stuffed behind the line more than he should. Imagine if he works out of this habit. The guy could be even more deadly

zulater
01-30-2011, 01:56 PM
I think Mendenhall has been underutilized as a receiver. I know they don't want to abuse him and add to many touches to his total's, but he's got decent hands, and when he gets the ball in space he really puts those defensive backs to the test. I'm not sure if Mewelde Moore is back next year, if not, maybe Mendy will be kept in on 3rd downs? We could keep his touches to a resonable level by incorporating Redman and possibly even Dwyer into the rb rotation?

Oh well that's next years problem. Here's hoping Mendy has an excellent Super Bowl!

El Nino
01-30-2011, 02:22 PM
Mendenhall's so quick he sometimes has trouble getting around his own blockers. The "stutter-stepping" doesn't always work and he gets stuffed behind the line more than he should. Imagine if he works out of this habit. The guy could be even more deadly

the combination of quickness, speed, and power this guy reminds me of terrell davis. whether it's the stutter stepping or o-line blocking just sucking right now I don't know. But I think if we get upgrades in the offensive line this guy will be a star. I think his vision when it comes to finding holes is fine.

if colon/starks can stay healthy and we can draft mike pouncey, this line will be lethal