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Hawaii 5-0
12-19-2012, 10:40 PM
Return of running game a must for Steelers offense

Injuries to some backs and many of the offensive linemen have bogged down the running game, but its return might be a must Sunday

December 19, 2012
By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

http://d4493f2df0d1b95cfc62-773cd17a86049dd672fafb96394debed.r5.cf2.rackcdn.co m/2012/353/824/jonathan-dwyer_420.jpg

Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer picks up four yards against the Cowboys.

The Steelers signed another cornerback Tuesday, placed two more players on injured reserve and contacted the missing persons bureau to help find a running game that vanished more than a month ago.

Not since Nov. 18 have the Steelers topped 100 yards rushing as a team. Not since Nov. 4 have they had an effective running game, when Isaac Redman chewed up the New York Giants for 147 yards.

The ground game they discovered at mid-season nearly has ground to a halt. It has slipped to 26th in the NFL in yards per outing at 96.5 yards and 26th in the NFL with an average of 3.8 yards per carry.

Now, more than ever, they need to rediscover how to run the ball as they return to the not-so-friendly confines of Heinz Field, where they lost their past two games and needed overtime to beat the lowly Kansas City Chiefs in the game before those.

The Cincinnati Bengals come to town for a 1 p.m. showdown Sunday with more quarterback sacks than any defense in the NFL (43). Nothing says protect the quarterback more than a good ground game.

The good news for the Steelers is they ran for more rushing yards than they have all season when they piled up 167 in a 24-17 victory at Cincinnati. The not-so-good news is that happened two months ago (Oct. 21).

"We were successful in running the ball against these guys the last time," coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday. "We don't anticipate that it will be easy just because that has been our past experience. But we are comfortable with the formulation of a plan and we look forward to having those guys being a big part of what it is we do."

The Steelers will welcome back Rashard Mendenhall from his one-game suspension, but how that will help their running game is anyone's guess. He has 113 yards and a 3.3-yard average per carry in his injury-marred season and was effective in just one game.

Tomlin indicated they will stay the course with their backfield rotation, which would indicate Jonathan Dwyer will start, Isaac Redman will back him up and Mendenhall may or may not dress.

"I'm happy with the rotation as it is now," Tomlin said. "I look forward to getting Rashard back in the building and participating with his teammates and kind of letting that participation lead us in terms of etching a potential role for him."

Dwyer leads the Steelers with 532 yards rushing and has a 4.1-yard average. But he had only 22 yards on nine carries against Dallas and led them with 32 yards on eight carries against San Diego. Redman, who has 380 yards and a 3.8-yard average, ran for 30 yards against the Cowboys on three carries, and had 0 yards on two carries against San Diego.

The Steelers managed only 69 yards rushing in each of the past two games.

"I would like to see them get it more, particularly a defined, featured runner," said Tomlin, who has not had one of those most of the season. "We haven't for a variety of reasons. We're not going to make excuses for that, but we're excited about the plan that we potentially have put together this week."

Dwyer looked to take over that featured position when he ran for 122 yards in that game at Cincinnati and 107 the following game against Washington. But he came down with a thigh injury and has not come close to that production since then.

Part of the explanation for the downturn in their ground game could be the shuffling of the offensive line. The Steelers have used five line combinations in their past five games, four of which were losses.

"It's all interrelated, not only injuries with the offensive line but in the backfield itself and, of course, game circumstance," Tomlin said. "They are what they are. We're excited about the plan that we're putting together today."

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sports/steelers/return-of-running-game-a-must-for-steelers-offense-666919/#ixzz2FYmJxX00

Fire Arians
12-19-2012, 11:45 PM
dwyer = sucks
redman = can't stay healthy
rainey = too small
batch = not ready for primetime
mendenhall = jackass

running back is a must in the next draft

teegre
12-19-2012, 11:48 PM
dwyer = sucks
redman = can't stay healthy
rainey = too small
batch = not ready for primetime
mendenhall = jackass

running back is a must in the next draft

Who?
There is no R1 RB... not that I'd suggest taking a RB in R1.

Knile Davis is my druthers... if a RB is taken.

QUESTION:
Marcus Lattimore is coming out. Do you "risk" a R4 pick on him?

He would not play until the following season (2014), but he could be a steal. I know, I know: he has blown out both knees... but, heck, AP is even better after his knee surgery, and thus, by that logic, Lattimore should rush for 2,500 yards!!! :wink02:

SoCalFan
12-19-2012, 11:59 PM
O line needs to start opening holes! These backs have no shot!

WokeUpWithaWoodley
12-20-2012, 01:04 AM
We''ve been asking that for years. With the way our o line has been playing u need a back who can bounce it outside with speed. Mendenhall would be the answer but everyone had given up on him. He really wasn't given a chance coming off injury. When he was in the lineup we had that 3rb rotation going which won't and didn't work. I remember when he came back to play against the eagles he look 10 times better than any of our other Rbs at the time and everyone on this board said how nice it was to have a actually rb back.

I would like to see him given a chance again but it won't happen

Hawaii 5-0
12-20-2012, 01:26 AM
Mendenhall’s back, but is Steelers’ running game?

By F. Dale Lolley
published dec 20, 2012

http://ORweb.SX2.atl.publicus.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=OR&Date=20121220&Category=SPORTS0403&ArtNo=121229999&Ref=AR&q=100&maxw=550&maxh=500

The Steelers are looking to running back Rashard Mendenhall to jumpstart the running game Sunday against the Bengals.

PITTSBURGH – As the crowd gathered around Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall, his teammates shouted words of encouragement to him.

Their message to the running back as he came back from a one-game suspension for conduct deemed detrimental to the team was simple: Welcome back.

“He’s a pretty darn good football player,” said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. “If he can help this team win football games, we’ll take it.”

Mendenhall was suspended for the Steelers’ 27-24 overtime loss to Dallas Sunday for failing to show up for the Dec. 9 game against San Diego after learning he would be inactive for the second straight week.

Mendenhall said his decision not to show up for the game was not made out of frustration.

“I wouldn’t use that word,” Mendenhall said. “There’s a lot of thought in everything I do.”

Head coach Mike Tomlin didn’t make promises to Mendenhall upon his reinstatement, but did leave the door open to the running back being active for the Steelers’ game Sunday at Heinz Field against the Cincinnati Bengals (8-6). It’s a game Pittsburgh (7-7) needs to win to stay in playoff contention.

Mendenhall, the Steelers’ leading rusher the past three seasons, is open to whatever role Tomlin has in mind.

“I’ve felt great this whole time,” said Mendenhall, who suffered a torn knee ligament in Week 17 of last season and was sidelined for four games this year with a sore Achilles’ tendon.

“I’ve worked this whole time, so I’m ready for whatever role they have for me.”

Tomlin benched Mendenhall in favor of Jonathan Dwyer following the Steelers’ 20-14 loss at Cleveland. Mendenhall lost two fumbles on just four carries in that game. But Dwyer and Isaac Redman also fumbled – Pittsburgh lost five fumbles in the game – and the running game has struggled since.

Dwyer has gained only 103 yards on 33 carries since being named the starter.

“I think it’s just the minor details, just getting the plays that we know we’re good at and sticking with them,” said Dwyer, who leads the Steelers with 532 yards on 131 attempts but hasn’t gotten more than nine attempts in each of the past two games, both losses.

“Once we do that, we need to keep implementing it throughout the game.”

With both Mendenhall and Redman sitting out the Oct. 21 meeting with Cincinnati – a 24-17 Pittsburgh victory – Dwyer gained a career-high 122 yards on 17 carries.

The Steelers are hoping for a similar effort this week in order to take pressure off of Roethlisberger and the passing attack as well as the defense.

“We were successful in running the ball against these guys the last time,” said Tomlin. “We don’t anticipate that it will be easy just because of our past experience. But we are comfortable with the formulation of a plan, and we look forward to having those guys being a big part of what it is we do.”

Roethlisberger said he apologized to offensive coordinator Todd Haley for statements he made following the Dallas game. Roethlisberger questioned some of Haley’s play calling.

“(I was) just apologizing for the storm that it created and caused,” said Roethlisberger, who said he also apologized to Tomlin and team president Art Rooney II. “We do have a lot of talks behind closed doors – about things, about plays, play calling. ... We have talks about everything. Coach Tomlin and I meet every Monday to talk about the game and what goes on. Just the frustration after a loss, and especially feeling like it was my fault, things blew up.”

Odds and end zones

Cornerback Cortez Allen, who sat out Sunday with a groin injury, participated in practice Wednesday. … Cornerback Keenan Lewis (hip), offensive tackle Mike Adams (ankle) and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) were limited in practice. … Defensive end Cameron Heyward (not injury related), safety Troy Polamalu (coach’s decision), cornerback Ike Taylor (ankle) and defensive end Al Woods (illness) did not practice.

http://www.observer-reporter.com/article/20121220/SPORTS0403/121229999/-1/sports#.UNKvps2FEmw

WokeUpWithaWoodley
12-20-2012, 02:11 AM
Appreciate the article still doesn't seem like they will use him a significant amount. I guess we will see Sunday.

torpedoshell31
12-20-2012, 07:30 AM
The ground game went downhill when Mike Adams got hurt. Beachum is a better pass protector, but Adams is an excellent run blocker. When Adams comes back the running game will improve.

steeltheone
12-20-2012, 07:48 AM
The ground game went downhill when Mike Adams got hurt. Beachum is a better pass protector, but Adams is an excellent run blocker. When Adams comes back the running game will improve.

Adams an Excellent run blocker ? Really? Might be jumping the gun a bit there.

maddog78
12-20-2012, 08:34 AM
Time to get out of the 70s. Use the pass to set up the run. Our strength is at QB and WR/TE. Go after Cincy and soften them up for the run.

God, it's gotten so easy to defend the Steelers anymore. Despite an average run blocking line and mediocre backs, they stick their jaw out like a neanderthal and beat their chest with "violent football".

Cyphon
12-20-2012, 10:42 AM
dwyer = sucks
redman = can't stay healthy
rainey = too small
batch = not ready for primetime
mendenhall = jackass

running back is a must in the next draft

Gonna have to disagree with some of these. While Dwyer hasn't been good I wouldn't say he sucks either. He had back to back 100 yard games and this whole season our line has been completely screwed.

Unless I am remembering wrong Redman has been injured one time so again, I wouldn't conclude that he can't stay healthy. If he can, he is definitely our guy to be the feature back. He has proven he can do it in big games and (fairly) consistently breaks off 20+ runs.

Agree on Rainey. Absolutely no way he can be the feature back. I would almost argue he isn't needed at all if it weren't for his KR capability. He is too small to block on third down and he doesn't catch/perform any better than our other backs coming out of the backfield as a receiver.

Batch.....I have no idea about. He hasn't had many oppurtunities to show what he is capable of so I can't even begin to say. Obviously our coaches have an idea but I trust their opinions about as much as I trust Ben alone in a bathroom with my fiance.

Agree on Mendenhall as well. Though I will add for all of his physical capabilities he rarely if ever, performs at a level we should and do expect from him.


In my opinion there is no need at the position and there should be no controversy. There is one guy who stands out above the rest and should be the starter (unless as you say he can't stay healthy). Dwyer, Rainey and Batch are just fine as backups to him. I stand by the fact that it is a waste to look for a RB anytime soon when we have bigger needs.

GoFor7
12-20-2012, 11:12 AM
Time to get out of the 70s. Use the pass to set up the run. Our strength is at QB and WR/TE. Go after Cincy and soften them up for the run.

God, it's gotten so easy to defend the Steelers anymore. Despite an average run blocking line and mediocre backs, they stick their jaw out like a neanderthal and beat their chest with "violent football".

This. Even the Bus can see this team can no longer play that way.

austinfrench76
12-20-2012, 12:17 PM
The running game should just be to keep the defense honest. IMO. When you have a QB like Ben, you can play like NE does. Brady has never really had a great RB. He just uses his weapons and we have them too! We just need Ben to fall in line with Haley's offense. Use the TE's, not just Heath. That's just my opinion...

JeromeBetties63
12-20-2012, 12:45 PM
dwyer = sucks
redman = can't stay healthy
rainey = too small
batch = not ready for primetime
mendenhall = jackass

running back is a must in the next draft

Once I read "dwyer sucks" I knew the rest of the post wasn't worth reading. :doh:

steeltheone
12-20-2012, 01:09 PM
Once I read "dwyer sucks" I knew the rest of the post wasn't worth reading. :doh:

Dwyer does not suck, but he is an average NFL back.

Riddle_Of_Steel
12-20-2012, 01:50 PM
Time to get out of the 70s. Use the pass to set up the run. Our strength is at QB and WR/TE. Go after Cincy and soften them up for the run.

God, it's gotten so easy to defend the Steelers anymore. Despite an average run blocking line and mediocre backs, they stick their jaw out like a neanderthal and beat their chest with "violent football".

Isn't this Bruce Arians version 2.3.56? The result was 46 sacks per year....

Ben is at his best when they can roll him out of the pocket and use play-action, which involves using the run to setup the pass.

GoFor7
12-20-2012, 02:36 PM
Isn't this Bruce Arians version 2.3.56? The result was 46 sacks per year....

Ben is at his best when they can roll him out of the pocket and use play-action, which involves using the run to setup the pass.

That is not how the Steelers are built anymore, nor is it how most NFL offenses operate. I know many of you desperately wish the NFL went back in time with offenses, but it's not happening. Want the QB to take fewer hits - get better o-line play. Not every throw by Brady and Manning is a quick pass. Their lines give them time.

Speaking of Brady and Manning, isn't it funny that those teams have better running games than the Steelers? Perhaps that should open up some eyes as to how far behind the 8-ball the Steelers are with modern NFL offenses. But no, gotta stick to tradition and do what granddaddy's team would do. (Which is funny, because eventually granddaddy realized TOP and defense wasn't enough - guess we have selective memory here.)

teegre
12-20-2012, 02:56 PM
I sure would like to have AP.

Even people who despise the running game HAVE to agree with that statement.

[Side-note: Remember the last game of the 2006 season, that overtime victory over the Bengals. I cheered!!! In hindsight, if the Steelers had lost, they would have had a chance at drafting AP... (or, worst case: Willis or Revis). Anyway, I remember wanting AP... and thinking there's no shot... and he was there at 7, and I was praying for the Steelers to trade up. Alas. Likewise, I was hoping that they'd trade in front of the 49ers, to get Willis. Again, alas. Thankfully the Steelers got Revis... oh... uh...]

VictoryFormation
12-20-2012, 03:04 PM
I know that the power run, out of the I-Formation from the last decade, and 1990's is not in vogue any more, but I still believe in a balanced attack. I believe that an offense needs to run to set up the pass. Beginning with their first offensive possession, a team should come out, and establish the run. Once you are able to run the ball effectively against the opposing team, you are able to do anything. Once you establish the run, then you can begin to mix in the pass, and then begin to turn big plays down-field. If something goes wrong, you can always go back to the run, because you know that you can run effectively. It is important to keep a nice mix of run, and pass throughout the game. You don't want to lose sight of things, and abandon the run during a game just because you are throwing the ball well. You need to be consistent at mixing between the run, and the pass. Passing, moves the ball down-field, putting more points on the board. Running, controls the clock, keeps the opposing offense off the field longer, and wears down the opposing defense. The pass, and the run work hand-in-hand. It is the way football was meant to be played.

I think the days of the wide-open Spread Offense are coming to a close. Teams are going back to the run, more.

GoFor7
12-20-2012, 03:10 PM
I know that the power run, out of the I-Formation from the last decade, and 1990's is not in vogue any more, but I still believe in a balanced attack. I believe that an offense needs to run to set up the pass. Beginning with their first offensive possession, a team should come out, and establish the run. Once you are able to run the ball effectively against the opposing team, you are able to do anything. Once you establish the run, then you can begin to mix in the pass, and then begin to turn big plays down-field. If something goes wrong, you can always go back to the run, because you know that you can run effectively. It is important to keep a nice mix of run, and pass throughout the game. You don't want to lose sight of things, and abandon the run during a game just because you are throwing the ball well. You need to be consistent at mixing between the run, and the pass. Passing, moves the ball down-field, putting more points on the board. Running, controls the clock, keeps the opposing offense off the field longer, and wears down the opposing defense. The pass, and the run work hand-in-hand. It is the way football was meant to be played.

Well, you can believe that all you want, but understand:

1.) The Steelers try that and aren't good at it.

2.) Plenty of other teams run the ball much better than the Steelers, including finesse teams like the Patriots and Broncos. Today's NFL is all about the quick strike, not TOP. Those teams put up points early, mix in the run to keep defenses off balance, then grind out the clock when they've already won the game. Stubbornly trying to pound it in the middle (like the Steelers do), will just put you in 2nd & long and 3rd & long situations all game.

VictoryFormation
12-20-2012, 05:05 PM
Well there, you said it. The Steelers are not running the ball well. But, if they were, it would be a different story. No matter how they accomplish it, they need to move the ball on the ground.
I am not saying that a team (The Steelers) should run a strict, ball control offense, where nearly every down is a running play. I am saying that a balanced attack is the best strategy for an offense. The more that you use the run, successfully, the longer the Payton Mannings, or Tom Bradys are standing on the sidelines. There is nothing wrong with a team throwing the ball, putting quick points on the board. But then, they can not be afraid to go back to the run. A balanced attack, with a little help from the defense will defeat the "quick strike" teams more often, than not.

GoFor7
12-20-2012, 05:21 PM
Well there, you said it. The Steelers are not running the ball well. But, if they were, it would be a different story. No matter how they accomplish it, they need to move the ball on the ground.
I am not saying that a team (The Steelers) should run a strict, ball control offense, where nearly every down is a running play. I am saying that a balanced attack is the best strategy for an offense. The more that you use the run, successfully, the longer the Payton Mannings, or Tom Bradys are standing on the sidelines. There is nothing wrong with a team throwing the ball, putting quick points on the board. But then, they can not be afraid to go back to the run. A balanced attack, with a little help from the defense will defeat the "quick strike" teams more often, than not.

This is what the Steelers do against quick strike teams:

1st down: Run up the middle
2nd down: Run up the middle
3rd down: Hope Ben bails the team out
Repeat until fourth quarter when game is out of hand, then hope Ben throws enough to bring the Steelers back into it.

Perhaps it would work to the Steelers favor if they become a quick strike team and make the other team play catch up. Don't be scared about getting into a shootout, in today's NFL it's inevitable that it will happen from time to time.

VictoryFormation
12-20-2012, 08:00 PM
This is what the Steelers do against quick strike teams:

1st down: Run up the middle
2nd down: Run up the middle
3rd down: Hope Ben bails the team out

Yeah, well, that is not the way it is supposed to work. I am not a fan of Todd Haley's. And, I am not sure what hell he is doing with the offense, most of the time. Also, I agree with the person above that said he is limiting Ben Roethlisberger. The Todd Haley offense is a new scheme for the Steelers. Maybe it is just the execution. The players don't have it down yet. They may not have all the right personal to put together a successful ground game, either. If they keep Todd Haley, maybe his offense will improve next year and everybody will be touting him as the greatest thing to happen to the Steelers the Immaculate Reception. It's a wait, and see.

At any rate, it is best not to be a team that has to shoot it out every week. Sooner, or later you'll get shot down. It is best to have a multidimensional offense.

JeromeBetties63
12-21-2012, 10:33 PM
Dwyer does not suck, but he is an average NFL back.

Actually, we don't have a large enough body of work to know yet.

steeltheone
12-22-2012, 07:13 AM
Actually, we don't have a large enough body of work to know yet.

The reasons we don't have a large enough body of work on his 3RD year is because he is average.

There have been many, many opportunities given to steal the show and he has not done this.

He gives plenty of effort, but he gets arm tackled way to easily for a bigger back.

Kanata-Steeler
12-22-2012, 07:34 AM
imho - the blame is starting to fall squarely on the shoulders of Todd Haley.
As OC, he has to have already started building some "real" running game strategies, especially more so, since these last few crushing losses from our passing/recieving ends.