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Hawaii 5-0
05-09-2012, 07:31 PM
Talkin' Running Backs: The Battle Is On Heading Into Training Camp

by Neal Coolong on May 9, 2012

http://cdn0.sbnation.com/entry_photo_images/3979101/GYI0061310840.jpg

Per dollar, it's easily the Steelers' best positional unit.

Pittsburgh has been stockpiling talent at running back, a position that's become interchangeable in the NFL over the years.

Gone are the days of league MVPs Shaun Alexander and LaDainian Tomlinson. The high volume passing era has led to the stable philosophy, as opposed to the pure prize back.

Because, well, running back is a classic example of the rhetorical question "why have one when you can get two for less than twice the price?"

Injuries become a major factor in a salary cap league. It's hard to pay, say, Adrian Peterson upwards of $9 million guaranteed, only to watch him blow out an ACL. And when he's one huge part of your offense (read: Chiefs, Kansas City, Charles, Jamaal), you can get into some trouble without having talent in place to keep the ship moving forward in the event (likelihood?) of injury.

Enter Rashard Mendenhall. An excellent all-around back, but the delta between Mendenhall's highest end and Isaac Redman's, Pittsburgh's second running back, is not as high as many other positions.

When Will Mendenhall Return?

In speaking with Middle Tennessee State strength coach Jason Spray earlier this week, he said running back is one of the more difficult positions to predict a timetable for return after an ACL tear. Due to the unpredictable movement necessary for the position (planting and cutting, making tacklers miss, etc.), it's hard to gauge when he could return. Much of it is going to be about mental strength and resolve as well.

Rehabilitation from an injury like that is painful, arduous and boring. It's a constant grind. Mendenhall is a phenomenal athlete, but the mental endurance necessary to make a successful return on the earlier end of the 9-12 month rehab process is tough.

I think the Steelers are going to have to plan on Mendenhall not being ready for significant action until at least Week 6 - incidentally, that's the week after the Steelers bye, and the last week a player can stay on the Physically Unable to Perform list. After that, he must be placed on the IR or released. The Steelers will take as much time as they can to give him a chance to contribute later in the season.

Who will fill his place?

The unofficial BTSC hero, Isaac Redman, of course. But he won't be a three-down back. The quartet of followers, Jonathan Dwyer, John Clay, Baron Batch and Chris Rainey, going into camp, look to battle it out for two positions behind him. Look for one of them to be cut after training camp and, if he clears waivers, to be placed on the practice squad. Of the remaining three, look for two of them to earn game day roster spots each week.

Each of them comes with a positive and a negative element. Dwyer has the skill, but has struggled with his weight and focus (he's in the midst of the most important offseason of his career). Clay has 10 career carries (and a touchdown) while spending little time on the active roster, and also had weight concerns, but stepped up last season when his number was called (41 yards and a score in Week 16). Batch is versatile and brings a good combination of speed and strength, but is just finishing an ACL rehab project of his own, and has barely any more experience than a rookie. Rainey is lightning fast and boasts special teams ability, but is the smallest in terms of height and weight, and likely won't be an option between the tackles.

Any of those evaluations are subject to change, and who stands out among the others depends on the work they put in this offseason.

Is This His Last Year in Pittsburgh?

You never know what a year will bring. As it is, is the most talented running back physically. While neither the scheme nor his overall health in the last few years ever suggested he could lead the league in rushing, Mendenhall has shown he's capable of being a lead back in the NFL. It always comes down to cost, though, and with Redman set to hit restricted free agency in 2013, as well as the low contract price of the other four, it isn't likely the Steelers are in a position to give Mendenhall much of a raise.

Most of the decision will be based on his ability to come back from his injury. It doesn't seem, though, in May of 2012, he'll be back next season, just based on the price tag he'll command in free agency.

What happened to Mewelde Moore?

He's still currently a free agent, and likely was asked by the Steelers to stay in shape in case the need arises. Salary cap issues and the progress of younger (and more inexpensive) players led the Steelers to leave Moore unsigned, but rest assured, the Steelers have him in their minds and will make a move if if doesn't appear any of them can bring the all-around experience Moore can.

Moore has been relied on for similar roles in the past, and is said to be a favorite of Steelers coach MIke Tomlin. It's not a stretch to envision a scenario in which none of the younger backs are separating themselves from the pack, so one of them is released and Moore is signed. It's a scenario for which the Steelers must be prepared.

How Will Todd Haley's Offense Utilize the Running Back?

If Haley's teams have been anything, they've been fairly different from one to the next. He's shown the ability to maximize the skill on his roster and use it to the best of their strengths.

In Kansas City, it was the multi-purpose threat of Charles both rushing and receiving. In Arizona, it was the veteran savvy of Kurt Warner combining with the skill of WRs Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. Recently, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger said Haley is "all about the no-huddle and using our wide-receiver weapons and throwing the ball and stuff like that." Seems appropriate for the coach to speak about the passing game to the quarterback, and obviously, the wide receivers will get their share of targets. Look for Haley to incorporate the running back, whomever that may be, to catch high-percentage throws in an effort to both gain something on every passing play possible, and to reduce the number of hits Roethlisberger takes.

http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/5/9/3009084/talkin-running-backs-the-battle-is-on-heading-into-training-camp

chitownpit
05-09-2012, 07:59 PM
Good read

Galax Steeler
05-09-2012, 08:12 PM
Thanks for sharing. I think the big battle is going to be Rainey and Batch. If Rainey lives up to his hipe then I could see Batch being on practice squad.

chitownpit
05-09-2012, 08:34 PM
And todd haley loves little scat backs, he has great plays from Mc Cluster he has drawn up,Rainey will get his touches

Dalarin
05-09-2012, 08:41 PM
I can see Rainey making huge plays if he gets the ball in open space and I'm sure Haley feels the same way. I just don't want to see us becoming predictable in a sense that "when Rainey is in they are going to pass." Strap up and enjoy the ride that the new coordinater is going to take this offense for. Hopefully we figure things out early and improve throughout the season

casteeler
05-09-2012, 08:42 PM
I still like Redman, with the improvement of the O-line and Mendy on the sidelines Redman can win the starting job. Last year Redman looked very good and he was a better fit for the Steelers last year than Mendy, I might just be a guy that likes good old fashioned downhill running and that's what makes me like this guy. It seemed like he didn't need to find the hole, more like make his own!

chitownpit
05-09-2012, 08:49 PM
Well we can run some sweeps now that we dont have two crippled tackles anymore:chuckle:

Hawaii 5-0
05-10-2012, 01:30 AM
Todd Haley Likes Using Running Backs In The Passing Game

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 by Dave Bryan

Since the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Florida running back Chris Rainey in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL draft, one really can't help but to think that new offensive coordinator Todd Haley plans to use him the same way that he used Dexter McCluster when he was the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. It got me wondering just how much Haley used his running backs in the passing game dating back to his time as the offensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals so I pulled the stats for all 32 teams dating back to 2007. I have included the running back targets and receptions in the numbers to go along with total plays, attempts and a few more stats as you can see in the sortable table below.

What is interesting is that in the last five years that Haley has coached, running backs have been targeted 21.40% of the time in attempted passes. That resulted in 24.20% of all passes completed that were thrown in total to wide receivers, tight ends and running backs. In his nearly three full years with Chiefs, Haley threw to the running backs no less than 20.1% of the time. The most was nearly 30% in 2010. Even dating back to his time with the Cardinals, running backs were thrown to right around 18% of the time when passes were attempted.

One of the biggest knocks on former Steelers offensive coordinator was that he did not use the running backs enough in the passing game and the stats support that claim. Dating back to 2007 the Steelers averaged throwing to the backs 14.40% of the time of all pass attempts. 2011 was the least of all five years Arians was in Pittsburgh as the backs were targeted just 11.9% of the time. So basically judging by the last five years of stats, offenses under Haley threw to the running backs 7% more than Arians coached offenses did. The average for the league over that span of time was 19.6% and Haley is clearly over that number.

One thing the data also shows us is that Haley has a higher pass/run ratio overall than Arians did during that span. Now of course playing from behind could play a large part in that, but Haley did have Kurt Warner as his quarterback while with Arizona. Over the last five years Haley offenses have passed 56.60% of the time compares to 54.30% for Arians. Another thing that the data shows us that quarterbacks have only been sacked 5.60% of the time they have dropped back in Haley offenses, compared to 8.50% for the Steelers under Arians. The league average during that span was 6.1% and I do not need to tell you how big of a beating that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has taken over that span of five seasons.

While both Haley and Arians both had pretty comparable yards per reception and yards per attempt numbers when throwing to the running backs over those years, you can see that in 2010 the Chiefs running backs had a nice 6.2 yards per attempt and a 9.3 yards per reception that season. That was thanks to both Jamaal Charles and McCluster as the Chiefs entire group of running backs combined for nearly 100 receptions that season.

Now these stats do not tell you everything and they certainly do not rival anything like what DVOA type stats do as they are raw numbers and percentages and do not take into account down and distance, field position and score. One thing that I think we take away from these stats is that Haley will have Roethlisberger using the running backs more in the passing game. This will be good news for players like Rainey and that is probably exactly why they drafted him. Do not forget that second year running back Baron Batch also played in a spread offense at Texas Tech and he too is a pretty nifty receiver out of the backfield. Batch also showed a knack in college for being able to pick up the blitz as well, something that Rainey likely will not be asked to do very much. Using the running backs more in the passing game should help keep Roethlisberger off his back more than usual in addition and that is always a good thing.

http://www.steelersdepot.com/2012/05/todd-haley-likes-using-running-backs-in-the-passing-game/

Galax Steeler
05-10-2012, 03:26 AM
If Redman has a good year then I can see Mendy the odd man out next year. I like Mendy but I just don't think he is going to be a Steeler much longer.

Bayz101
05-10-2012, 03:28 AM
If Redman has a good year then I can see Mendy the odd man out next year. I like Mendy but I just don't think he is going to be a Steeler much longer.

I agree. Not to mention Mendy's final contract year is next year.

Steelersfan87
05-10-2012, 03:51 AM
If Mendenhall doesn't start the season (which seems likely), and and assuming that they carry 4 RBs as they traditionally do (which they might not; they might carry Rainey as a swing 5th RB/6th WR), I think the opening day stable will be Redman, Dwyer, Batch, and Rainey. Redman obviously is a lock, but I would assume that John Clay is going to have his chance to prove himself. You would think that it would be Dwyer vs Clay and Batch vs Rainey for roster spots in the end, however, given their arguably similar styles, so it should end up being Mendenhall, Redman, Dwyer/Clay, and Batch/Rainey. Either way, it's nice to have options.

Bayz101
05-10-2012, 04:09 AM
By the end of the year, i'm looking at this:

Redman, Batch, Dwyer with Rainey at WR.

Fire Arians
05-10-2012, 11:50 AM
Todd Haley Likes Using Running Backs In The Passing Game

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 by Dave Bryan

Since the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Florida running back Chris Rainey in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL draft, one really can't help but to think that new offensive coordinator Todd Haley plans to use him the same way that he used Dexter McCluster when he was the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. It got me wondering just how much Haley used his running backs in the passing game dating back to his time as the offensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals so I pulled the stats for all 32 teams dating back to 2007. I have included the running back targets and receptions in the numbers to go along with total plays, attempts and a few more stats as you can see in the sortable table below.

What is interesting is that in the last five years that Haley has coached, running backs have been targeted 21.40% of the time in attempted passes. That resulted in 24.20% of all passes completed that were thrown in total to wide receivers, tight ends and running backs. In his nearly three full years with Chiefs, Haley threw to the running backs no less than 20.1% of the time. The most was nearly 30% in 2010. Even dating back to his time with the Cardinals, running backs were thrown to right around 18% of the time when passes were attempted.

One of the biggest knocks on former Steelers offensive coordinator was that he did not use the running backs enough in the passing game and the stats support that claim. Dating back to 2007 the Steelers averaged throwing to the backs 14.40% of the time of all pass attempts. 2011 was the least of all five years Arians was in Pittsburgh as the backs were targeted just 11.9% of the time. So basically judging by the last five years of stats, offenses under Haley threw to the running backs 7% more than Arians coached offenses did. The average for the league over that span of time was 19.6% and Haley is clearly over that number.

One thing the data also shows us is that Haley has a higher pass/run ratio overall than Arians did during that span. Now of course playing from behind could play a large part in that, but Haley did have Kurt Warner as his quarterback while with Arizona. Over the last five years Haley offenses have passed 56.60% of the time compares to 54.30% for Arians. Another thing that the data shows us that quarterbacks have only been sacked 5.60% of the time they have dropped back in Haley offenses, compared to 8.50% for the Steelers under Arians. The league average during that span was 6.1% and I do not need to tell you how big of a beating that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has taken over that span of five seasons.

While both Haley and Arians both had pretty comparable yards per reception and yards per attempt numbers when throwing to the running backs over those years, you can see that in 2010 the Chiefs running backs had a nice 6.2 yards per attempt and a 9.3 yards per reception that season. That was thanks to both Jamaal Charles and McCluster as the Chiefs entire group of running backs combined for nearly 100 receptions that season.

Now these stats do not tell you everything and they certainly do not rival anything like what DVOA type stats do as they are raw numbers and percentages and do not take into account down and distance, field position and score. One thing that I think we take away from these stats is that Haley will have Roethlisberger using the running backs more in the passing game. This will be good news for players like Rainey and that is probably exactly why they drafted him. Do not forget that second year running back Baron Batch also played in a spread offense at Texas Tech and he too is a pretty nifty receiver out of the backfield. Batch also showed a knack in college for being able to pick up the blitz as well, something that Rainey likely will not be asked to do very much. Using the running backs more in the passing game should help keep Roethlisberger off his back more than usual in addition and that is always a good thing.

http://www.steelersdepot.com/2012/05/todd-haley-likes-using-running-backs-in-the-passing-game/

good to know. one thing that pissed me off about arians was he'd never try to use mendenhall in the passing game. mendenhall in space is dangerous too, and arians never took advantage of that. he was highly successful as an RB in a spread attack, but they try to run him between the tackles? lol. if haley will do anything better than arians it's taking advantage of the talent instead of getting in the way of it.

ebsteelers
05-10-2012, 02:02 PM
we have options options options

redman is a lock

really a big fan of batch on 3rd downs


forgive me if im wrong but dwyer could be good between the tackles and has more speed then big john clay?
i think that gives him the advantage.

redman and dwyer near goal line

batch and rainey 3rd down fun

Kingmagyar
05-10-2012, 04:39 PM
From a recent photo of Dwyer training, he will have no weight problems going into camp this year. He seems to know he's competing for even a starting job.

John Clay can be beat by most O-lineman in the 40. Power helps though.

Opening Day actives:

Redman
Dwyer
Rainey

inactive:
Baron Batch

Mendenhall returns they either keep 5 or release and sign Batch to practice squad. Could be an injury in there somewhere as well.

ebsteelers
05-10-2012, 09:58 PM
From a recent photo of Dwyer training, he will have no weight problems going into camp this year. He seems to know he's competing for even a starting job.

John Clay can be beat by most O-lineman in the 40. Power helps though.

Opening Day actives:

Redman
Dwyer
Rainey

inactive:
Baron Batch

Mendenhall returns they either keep 5 or release and sign Batch to practice squad. Could be an injury in there somewhere as well.


could live with that... im guessing clay gets cut in your scenario?

its nice to see we have some good options in the backfield..

as last it seems like we have some comfry in the backfield even without mendy...


i'm always school of thought rather, have 2 or 3 guys rush for 800 yards, or one for 1000 and 2 other guys for about 500 piece,
)i think that could be done with redman, and 2 other guys.)

then one for 1500..

thats just me though...

Steelersfan87
05-10-2012, 10:56 PM
From a recent photo of Dwyer training, he will have no weight problems going into camp this year. He seems to know he's competing for even a starting job.

John Clay can be beat by most O-lineman in the 40. Power helps though.

Opening Day actives:

Redman
Dwyer
Rainey

inactive:
Baron Batch

Mendenhall returns they either keep 5 or release and sign Batch to practice squad. Could be an injury in there somewhere as well.

I agree with these predictions.

Hawaii 5-0
05-11-2012, 11:36 PM
The Chris Rainey Dynamic Part 2: The Big League

Friday, May 11th, 2012 by Christopher DiMarino

Chris Rainey. What an addition. How many teams added a guy in the 5th round that had everyone talking? There is no doubt that Rainey is a high level talent, but is he a high risk high reward type of player? This is the big question on his shoulders. Eternally positive Pittsburgh Steelers fans automatically have him as a lock for punt and kick return duties and a dynamic big play threat on offense. Before we get rash, let's look into what must he do become the player we associate with these lofty expectations.

There have been discussions from the day he was drafted about how fast he is. Is he faster than Mike Wallace? Who cares? He can’t just be a speedster; he has to be able to offer much more to get on the field. His big skill in college was his agility. This helps him shed tacklers as well as squeeze out extra yards. For his success on field, he will need to continue to use this agility to avoid big time hits in the pros. An immediate concern I have is his ball protection. He was used to being able to avoid big hits in college but he likely will take some licks now at the next level. Nothing will slow down a young gun's snap count more than breaking a coach’s trust by turning the ball over. This extends to the return game as well as dropping passes when he receives contact after the catch.

My next question about him is how well can he return kicks and punts? I think punt return is a given as he was featured in that role in college. Pittsburgh's stifling defense will allow many opportunities for him to show his value there. Will a player last if he's just valuable on punt return? It depends on how well he does, but assuming he performs average in punt and kick return duties could be a big contributing factor. The new NFL has created a unique opportunity. We saw more touchbacks than ever before, but the few returns that happened seemed to be more volatile. The take away is that (not unlike Antonio Brown) if he fails to shine on the punt return, he will have to add something to the offense.

Dexter McCluster had a career year this past season for the Kansas City Chiefs. Running back instability and injuries certainly helped his cause, but it showed that Todd Haley had some level of confidence in him. It also means that Haley has experience in designing plays featuring undersized speedsters. Mike Tomlin might seem like a more conservative coach, but maybe he's just been lacking the correct personnel. A staple of the Bill Cowher era was trick/gadget plays that kept the defenses off balance. I think Rainey is one those new tools to use in that area.

Pure offensive snaps might take some time to include Rainey. He can line up as a running back but the defense knows that he will likely only be an outside running threat. He can eventually be groomed as a slot receiver, but I want to take it a step further. I think a very useful setup would be split backs. He and Isaac Redman can split to the sides of Ben Roethlisberger in a shotgun formation. This will keep the defense honest about inside or outside runs and give Roethlisberger the room to pre-snap audible to what seems appropriate based on what he sees from the defense. This will also open avenues for a lot of movement in the backfield and fakes to further confuse the defense. Rainey could even be motioned out to the slot in this setup to utilize his receiving ability and get him out into space.

The big problem with players being shoed in as a starter is that they are likely just as replaceable. Signing Marquis Maze as an undrafted free agent is a dual ability insurance property should he somehow crack the roster. He can do essentially everything Rainey does except rush the ball. I don't want to act like they are interchangeable but there are many athletes out there who can compete for these types of spots. Maze has the advantage of backing a position with many fewer perceived backups. If you don't look at Rainey as a running back, then the team has to justify him as a pure special teamer. That segregation can lead to issues of his value, so working into the offense will be key for him.

The main factor for Rainey is time. It will take time for him to be trusted in this offense and will need to earn his stay. Fumbles will ground him early, and he may need to make splash plays on returns to prove his value. Regardless, the Steelers clearly think he had enough value to draft. He might be the only 5th rounder that will be given many opportunities and even have plays developed for him. I think the longer he's kept on the roster the better chance he has to be successful. As with defensive players, I think they will take time and groom him. But if he struggles early with returns, there are many other options that can take his place.

http://network.yardbarker.com/nfl/article_external/ben_roethlisberger_career_no_huddle_passing_stats/10759064

Kingmagyar
05-12-2012, 06:59 AM
The article does mention more to playing the NFL game then speed, but still with 4.3 speed there aren't many options that can take your place. The challenge i think is not so much with Rainey, but with what Haley can do with him. The two back shotgun formation seems to be an excellent suggestion. (paragraph 5)

Hawaii 5-0
05-12-2012, 09:34 PM
Post Draft State Of The Steelers Running Backs

Saturday, May 12th, 2012 by Dave Bryan

The 2012 draft for the Pittsburgh Steelers is a few weeks behind us now. I have already posted about the state of the offensive and defensive line positions following the draft and today we will look at the state of the running back depth chart following the draft.

Rashard Mendenhall - Mendenhall is entering the final year of his rookie contract and is likely to start the 2012 season on the PUP list as he continues to recover from a torn ACL suffered in the 2011 season finale against the Cleveland Browns. Should Mendenhall indeed start the season on the PUP list he will miss the first six games automatically. General Manager Kevin Colbert has stated that he is never comfortable with an ACL recovery until a year after the injury, but that does not mean that Mendenhall will not be able to contribute at some point during the season. A realistic return of Mendenhall to the Steelers 53 man roster is likely to be around week 11 or 12 and hopefully the rest of the running backs on the roster can carry the load until he is ready to contribute in some form or fashion.

Isaac Redman - Redman returns as an exclusive free agent and figures to be lead running back with Mendenhall likely out to start the season. Redman has improved in every facet of his game since being signed as an undrafted free agent and that includes the little things like blitz recognition and pick-up. Redman has also shown he is a reliable target out of the backfield as well in the passing game and is as violent of a runner between the tackles as any other running back in the league. He hardly ever goes down on first contact and is always fighting for the additional yardage. The jury is out on if Redman can be an every down back, but he might not be asked to be that under new offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who might use a combination of backs to help lighten the load on Redman.

Jonathan Dwyer - It sure felt like more but Dwyer played less than 30 snaps on offense last year at running back in three different games. His biggest highlight last season was his 76 yard run against the Tennessee Titans in week 5 as Mendenhall was sidelined with an injury. Dwyer also saw some limited action on special teams before breaking his foot late in the week 13 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Dwyer was eventually placed on injured reserve and has since recovered from his surgery. With Mendenhall expected to be sidelined for the first part of the season, Dwyer has a golden opportunity to serve as a backup to Redman. He plans to workout down in Florida with Antonio Brown and Lawrence Timmons in July in an effort to arrive at training camp in tip-top shape. He will face a ton of competition in camp and will have to earn his roster spot by also contributing on special teams.

John Clay - Clay was activated to the 53 man roster after Dwyer went down, but like Dwyer, he also saw just under 30 snaps of playing time on offense. He scored a touchdown on his very first NFL carry against the St. Louis Rams and not too many players can say that. He is far from being a complete back and he has his work cut out for him to make the 53 man roster. In fact, he and Dwyer could likely be battling for the same roster spot on the 53 as it seems unlikely that both will make unless injuries occur. Clay runs well with the football, but is the other things related to the position that are a concern when the ball is not in his hands. He very well could be a practice squad candidate should he not make the roster.

Baron Batch - Batch was the superstar of training camp last year and it looked like he was on course to supplant Mewelde Moore as the third down, change of pace back last season based on camp reports. Unfortunately Batch tore his ACL just prior to the start of the preseason and he spent his rookie season on injured reserve rehabbing. By all accounts Batch will be ready to go again by the time training camp gets started and he must prove the knee is no longer an issue and that he can repeat the solid camp he had his rookie season. Batch is fearless and effective in blitz pickup and great in open space out of the backfield in the passing game. With Moore not currently on the roster, Batch has an opportunity to assume that role, especially if he can contribute on special teams. He should have no problem picking up the new offense of Haley and figures to get plenty of opportunities in the preseason to prove his worth. Hopefully the knee does not fail him.

Chris Rainey - The Steelers fifth round draft pick could become a Dexter McCluster type toy for Haley in 2012. Rainey is certainly not an every down back as his smallish build will not let him be a between the tackles type runner. What Rainey is however, is a play-maker and his ability to also line up in the slot and catch the ball out of the backfield will make him a hard player for defenses he faces to account for. Rainey also could be in contention to be both the punt and kickoff return man and his ability to run the route tree could give the Steelers the ability to carry just 5 wide receivers on the 53 out of training camp because of his versatility. The only thing that figures to keep Rainey from making the week one roster is Rainey himself. He could be the type of back that gets 4-7 snaps on offense a game.

Post Draft Prediction 53 Man Roster Running Backs:

Rashard Mendenhall - PUP
Isaac Redman
Jonathan Dwyer
Baron Batch
Chris Rainey

http://www.steelersdepot.com/2012/05/post-draft-state-of-the-steelers-running-backs/

mikeyg
05-13-2012, 08:30 AM
what's the board's opinion, consensus on J Clay?

Kingmagyar
05-13-2012, 03:09 PM
what's the board's opinion, consensus on J Clay?

Clay was a work horse at Wisconsin with over 2,500 yards rushing his last two seasons, but he is as slow as an offensive lineman which will make his special teams play weaker and he needs to contribute there to make the team. Unless he becomes a absolute force at the goal line like a Bettis or becomes an incredible blocking fullback he will have a hard time making it unless there is an injury.

Hawaii 5-0
05-16-2012, 02:02 AM
Top 10 Position Battles to Watch in Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp

By Nick DeWitt (Featured Columnist) on May 15, 2012

http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/slides/photos/002/229/209/123953139_display_image.jpg?1337123870

Backup Running Backs Combatants

Jonathan Dwyer, Baron Batch, John Clay, Chris Rainey

Analysis

Let's assume that Isaac Redman is the starter and that Rashard Mendenhall will get carries once he's healthy. That leaves, at most, three spots for other runners. I don't see the team keeping six backs, although they may hold onto someone if Mendenhall is on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

There's a great diversity of skill sets here. Rainey is a burner who can return kicks and punts and can be the home run threat. Dwyer is a bulldozer like Redman. Batch is a versatile back like Mewelde Moore. Clay is a big goal line guy that's built more like an old school fullback.

Sorting through that, Batch and Rainey have skill sets that the Steelers don't have with the top backs. Moore is gone. Dwyer, however, has been very good when healthy and allowed on the field. Clay was a nice goal line back for a team that struggled to punch it in.

Winners

I'll take Batch, Rainey and Dwyer. I don't think the Steelers will have the issues at the goal line with the new offensive line in place. Redman and Dwyer should be good down there. Batch effectively replaces Moore. The wild card is Rainey, but I like him to take over some of the return duties from starting receiver Antonio Brown.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1184805-top-10-position-battles-to-watch-in-pittsburgh-steelers-training-camp/page/3

Hawaii 5-0
05-18-2012, 04:44 PM
Steelers RB Jonathan Dwyer Wants To Be 'One Of The Main Guys Contributing'

by Neal Coolong on May 18, 2012

http://cdn0.sbnation.com/entry_photo_images/4072730/123295267_extra_large.jpg

Mike Wilkening of Pro Football Weekly penned a solid piece on Steelers RB Jonathan Dwyer, and what he's up to this off-season.

From Wilkening's accounts, Dwyer is ready to compete for an increase in playing time, something he hasn't had much of since being chosen six picks before Pro Bowl WR/KR Antonio Brown.

Wrote Wilkening:

Entering his third NFL campaign, "you want more," Dwyer said Thursday. "You want to be out (there) more and more and be one of the main guys that contributes on this team."

The article also references RB Rashard Mendenhall, whom Dwyer noted was at the facility as part of his rehabilitation from an ACL tear he suffered at the end of last season.

Dwyer won't likely compete for a starting position this year, but as he can attest to (a broken foot toward the end of the year) as well as a late-season injury to former Steelers RB Mewelde Moore, having a deep running back unit is important in the NFL.

He showed at least some potential, having scampered for a 76-yard run against Tennessee in Week 5 last season - the seventh-longest play from scrimmage in team history.

Running back figures to be a hot battle in training camp, with back-up spots behind likely starter Isaac Redman and fill-in spots while Mendenhall is out (could be through the first part of the season) are up between Dwyer, John Clay, Baron Batch and rookie Chris Rainey.

http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/5/18/3027890/steelers-running-backs-training-camp-jonathan-dwyer-rashard-mendenhall-isaac-redman-baron-batch#storyjump

Hawaii 5-0
05-24-2012, 08:57 PM
Mendenhall needs to be selfish

May 24th, 2012

Rashard Mendenhall has worked out on his own at a feverish pitch during the first two days of organized team activities.

The way he looks running up and down the sidelines at the Steelers’ facility makes you wonder if he will be back sooner than expected from the torn ACL he suffered in Cleveland during the regular-season finale last year.

Well, he could be ready sooner, but don’t expect him to push to get back early.

Mendenhall’s contract is up after the year, and you really can’t blame him for not wanting to rush back.

Think about it, why would he rush back? So he shows the rest league what a less-than-100 percent Rashard Mendenhall looks like during a contract year if the Steelers decide he’s not in their plans anymore?

Honestly, Mendenhall needs to be selfish with this situation. He needs to make sure he is 100 percent before he gets on the field more to ensure his long-term future in the league. He will be 25 soon, and we all know running backs don’t last past 30 too very often, so it would be smart if Mendenhall takes his time.

“I am not targeting anything,” Mendenhall said after Wednesday’s OTA. “I don’t have a time frame. I just want to get back to 100 percent, and right now, I feel good about it. Everything is going well.”

To quote Mike Tomlin, there might be some short-term misery with the lack of experienced depth the Steelers have at running back, but it just may pay off substantially in November and December.

An ACL injury typically takes 9-10 months to heal following surgery. Mendenhall is close to five months out from his surgery.

A little quick math puts Mendenhall back in the lineup by November. Since it is an unknown if Isaac Redman can carry a load for an entire season, Mendenhall could be ready to step in and help at the perfect time.

A fully rested and totally healed Mendenhall in the lineup for the last month of so of the season to share time with Redman would be something that could really benefit the Steelers’ offense down the stretch.

And it could really benefit Mendenhall’s wallet in the long run as well.

http://blog.triblive.com/steel-mill/2012/05/24/mendenhall-needs-to-be-selfish/#.T74388ZUab8.twitter

FrancoLambert
05-25-2012, 09:18 AM
Clay's awesome!
He averages 10 yards a carry and scores every time he carries the ball! :sofunny:

Blackout
05-25-2012, 02:07 PM
Why is there a dislike for Mendy from other Steeler fans? Was he a bad draft pick?

Hawaii 5-0
05-25-2012, 02:22 PM
Why is there a dislike for Mendy from other Steeler fans? Was he a bad draft pick?


I think some Steelers fans remember Mendy's fumble in the Super Bowl against the Packers while others didn't care for some comments he made on twitter about 9/11.

Bayz101
05-25-2012, 02:24 PM
Why is there a dislike for Mendy from other Steeler fans? Was he a bad draft pick?

I think most of it stems from some comments he made on Bin Laden on twitter a year back. Most fans won't admit that, but that's pretty much what it is.

Blackout
05-25-2012, 02:51 PM
Oh thats it? I didn't have an issue with his comments, I actually agree with him.

I was thinking it was the injuries he had throughout his career.

So with an ACL tear how likely will it be that Mendy performs like he used to? I think he would explode under Haley's offense.

Hawaii 5-0
05-25-2012, 03:09 PM
Oh thats it? I didn't have an issue with his comments, I actually agree with him.



just curious, do you agree with the following comment Mendy made?

"We'll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style."

TheVet
05-25-2012, 04:08 PM
The real issue with Mendenhall is that his performance on the field has been disappointing for a #1 draft pick. Sure, he can make a nice gain given a big hole, like any other NFL back. But he often runs indecisively, doesn't always bring full effort, and he has some issues with ball security. This guy is an OK back - but not a difficult-to-replace talent.

Playing the fool on Twitter is just icing on the cake.

Blackout
05-25-2012, 05:42 PM
just curious, do you agree with the following comment Mendy made?

"We'll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style."

I agreed on the Bin Laden tweets but that I don't. He's free to make whatever opinion he wants, even if it's ignorant.

Hawaii 5-0
05-25-2012, 06:19 PM
I agreed on the Bin Laden tweets but that I don't. He's free to make whatever opinion he wants, even if it's ignorant.


do you agree with this bin Laden tweet by Mendy?

"It's amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak," Rashard said of bin Laden. "We've only heard one side."

Gene Collier wrote a good article regarding Mendy's insensitive and ignorant comments and I will quote him here as I couldn't agree more or say it any better myself:

"This is just wrong. Osama bin Laden's had plenty to say before and since Sept. 11, 2001. He has released videotapes, audio tapes, al-Qaida training films; he has done everything but tweet and guest host Regis and Kelly. Who can ever forget -- other than Mendenhall -- the glee behind his wiggling fingertips as he explained and pantomimed on video the collapse of the World Trade Center, the object of his own conspiratorial slaughter of nearly 3,000 Americans?

Why should anyone directly scarred by that awful day, or anyone directly or even indirectly involved in the decade-long effort to eradicate the source of all that heartache, have to stumble over the unconscionably insensitive tweet-ravings of a Steelers running back?"

http://www.realclearsports.com/2011/05/04/mendenhall_should_know_better_88993.html