Willie Colon Blames Himself for Poor Running Game
The Steelers are off to their worst start running the ball on offense in 62 years. A lot of the blame has been put on the Steelers being without starting running back Rashard Mendenhall, but the Steelers had him for 15 and a half games in 2011 and struggled to run the ball then too. In fact when the running back is being met in the backfield on almost every carry it is hard to place much of them blame on them at all.
During the last few drafts the Steelers have shown concern for the real problem: the offensive line. The Steelers have drafted Maurkice Pouncey, Marcus Gilbert, David DeCastro, and Mike Adams within the first two rounds of the last three drafts. They know that the run game starts up front and that Ben Roethlisberger needs more time to throw. However, DeCastro is out with a knee injury, Gilbert is battling a groin problem, and Adams was unable to win a job as a rookie. Heading into the season their was hope for the line and a lot of optimism. The Steelers would finally have a mauling pull guard in DeCastro, now out with an injury, and would have Willie Colon back, who had only played in one game during the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
So why is the line still failing in the run game? Colon says to point the finger directly at him. Willie Colon made the move from right tackle to left guard with the hope that he would be able to anchor the position in place of the incumbent Chris Kemoeatu. Colon, however, has been anything but dominate in his first three games at left guard. He is failing to open holes, struggling as a pull guard, and being called for too many penalties.
When asked about playing left guard Colon said that the move is difficult and that he is still learning how to play his new position. Willie Colon admitted to having trouble getting used to pulling as a guard and said that he needs to do a better job of creating holes in the run game and of getting to the second level. Todd Haley’s playbook uses more of a zone blocking type scheme that calls for athletic lineman who can get to the second level and open up holes. Colon, as of now, is struggling with that, but he should continue to improve as he gets more playing time.
The return of Rashard Mendenhall may help some, but he can’t do everything himself. David DeCastro should return later in the year and we will be able to see how much his presence improves the running game. As of now it is up to the five guys on the field to make room for the running back to run and they have a tough task ahead of them with the Eagles front four next Sunday.