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tony hipchest
08-16-2012, 08:38 PM
http://pit.scout.com/2/1212207.html

LATROBE – They are the mightiest little band of athletes on the practice field, these Steelers running backs.
And they are led by a man who by every right should be home taking it easy as his own wounds continue to heal.

But, Kirby Wilson isn’t wired that way, nor are the surviving members of his running back corps, a corps that’s been savaged by these injuries:

* Rashard Mendenhall, the No. 1 halfback, is on the PUP list, probably for at least six weeks into the season.

* David Johnson, the No. 1 fullback, was waived after tearing his ACL during the first series of the first preseason game.

* Isaac Redman, the No. 2 halfback, is on the sideline recovering from a groin injury that felled him during an aborted return Wednesday and caused him to undergo an MRI on Thursday.

* Jonathan Dwyer, the No. 3 halfback, injured his shoulder in the preseason opener and just returned to the practice field full-time on Thursday.

* John Clay, the No. 4 halfback, tore a quadriceps muscle at practice this week and has been waived.

* And of course Wilson, the gritty coach of the unit, is still easing back into his life after receiving substantial burns in a fire at his apartment last January.

What’s left are two rookies – Chris Rainey and fullback Will Johnson – and Baron Batch, who should be labeled a rookie after tearing his ACL early last August and missing the entire season.

And, of course, there’s Dwyer, who joined the group for Thursday’s practice. Fortunately he got through it in one piece.

“Coach (Mike) Tomlin calls us ‘The Refugees,’” said Dwyer. “So that’s what we are, ‘The Refugee Runners.’”

Dwyer thought about the words that had just escaped his mouth and said, “It’s really not a bad nickname. We’re fighting and clawing. We’re a group that likes to compete.”

Rainey of course is the cat-quick 178-pounder who’s about as tough as they come for NFL players that size.

And Batch is called “Mr. Mean” by teammates because “He’s a mean player, man,” said Dwyer. “Don’t let the size fool you. When he’s out there on that field he gets after it.”

Johnson, the fullback, is learning the position after sitting out the 2011 season and spending the 2010 season as West Virginia University’s H-back.

Yesterday, Johnson alternated with Jamie McCoy, a tight end who fits right in with The Refugees with his No. 80 jersey.

On the sideline is Jason Ford, an undrafted rookie who was just signed off the street.

Dwyer could end up being the “Bell Cow” of the group, a name he got to know as the feature back at Georgia Tech three years ago. Dwyer looked the part of a feature runner at yesterday’s practice when he caught, ran and blocked like a front-line “Bell Cow.”

“I’m just going to prepare for whatever,” Dwyer said of his expected role this season. “In this business you have to have an open mindset and be prepared for any aspect of it. Sooner or later down the line Rack (Mendenhall) is going to be back. He’s the head guy, regardless. Then roles change for everybody else.”

According to Redman’s MRI results, No. 2 could be back early next week. But until the leading rushers from last year return, it’ll be up the “The Refugees” to keep the sticks moving. :applaudit:




another great piece by Jim Wexell. I asked him right before this article hit, if baron batch was making the most of his opportunity running 1st and 3rd team offense this week in camp and he said the "Little guy working his way up to becoming Mewelde Moore

Fire Arians
08-16-2012, 09:16 PM
curious to see what baron can do behind the starting line

tony hipchest
08-16-2012, 09:33 PM
curious to see what baron can do behind the starting linei predict he will do well. good to hear his knee is holding up (from today running w/ 1st team)-

Ken Torgent‏@ktorgent

Baron Batch just made a nasty, nasty cutback on a running play. Froze the first-team D

Steelersfan87
08-16-2012, 09:34 PM
tony, do you subscribe to SCI? I've been really kicking the idea around over the past few weeks wondering if it's really worth it. For example, are the insider articles really all that valuable in comparison to the ones that are free? I really like Jim and his writing, but I've never paid for a website before...

tony hipchest
08-16-2012, 09:55 PM
tony, do you subscribe to SCI? I've been really kicking the idea around over the past few weeks wondering if it's really worth it. For example, are the insider articles really all that valuable in comparison to the ones that are free? I really like Jim and his writing, but I've never paid for a website before...i).m just like you. i really want to, but just havent brought myself around to do it yet. i gotta imagine it IS really worth it though. as good as jims stuff is, he saves the best (and newest most relevant information that isnt actually #newsbreaking worthy) for his subscribers.

Back in 2005-2006 we had a member here who subscribed and would "share" the insider articles (a practice that was eventually shut down) and i have to say they were fantastic.

i regard jim as the most reliable steelers insider (and his analysis isnt too bad either). he was the main writer for steelers digest which is owned by the steelers so that says alot. plus he's not afraid to take the other local media and beat writers to task.

on top of all that, very rarely do i ask him a question via twitter that goes w/o a response. i would say he is one of the most accessible follows, and that says alot coming from an average (non subscribing) fan.

Rick5895
08-17-2012, 03:18 AM
Kind of shaping up a bit like 205 here. Our top 2 backs, Bus and Duce get hurt can't play and here comes Willie Parker. Maybe Dwyer or Batch become that guy for us this year.

Fire Arians
08-17-2012, 12:04 PM
baron batch has a golden opportunity this week, hopefully he impresses. He's got the size to be an every down back, and in college he was also a very good blocker and receiver out of the backfield. except for mendenhall, he may have the most complete skillset out of all our running backs. gonna be watching him closely

steelfury02
08-17-2012, 04:18 PM
1. Protect Ben
2. Rattle Manning
3. And some serious "STAY HEALTHY" mixed in before and after. If we can make it through this preseason without anything else we should be good to roll. Remember, we haven't shown all of our cards yet :)

MasterOfPuppets
08-17-2012, 05:16 PM
Back in 2005-2006 we had a member here who subscribed and would "share" the insider articles (a practice that was eventually shut down) and i have to say they were fantastic.

.
so we need a new insider...insider...:noidea: