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Old 09-27-2012, 02:35 AM   #1
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Default Steelers’ run game off to worst start in 62 years

Steelers’ run game off to worst start in 62 years

By Alan Robinson
Thursday, September 27, 2012,

Isaac Redman started the first three games, but he understands changes are needed in what is becoming an historically bad Steelers running game.

Redman concedes former 1,000-yard rusher Rashard Mendenhall will regain his starting job as soon as he is healthy and ready to play, and all signs point to that being when the Steelers return Monday from their weekend off.

“We’re looking for him to come in and be the feature guy,” Redman said Thursday.

Time for a change? Even Ben Roethlisberger’s exceptional passing statistics can’t cover up that the Steelers haven’t been this one-dimensional since they were running an offense most teams gave up on in the 1940s.

With 195 yards rushing and a 2.64-yards-per-carry average, the running game is off to its worst start in 62 years — or since the Steelers were the last NFL team still using the single-wing offense. For comparison’s sake, the Chiefs have run for 575 yards.

And they didn’t call it the wildcat back in 1950, when the Steelers gained only 189 yards in the first three games of what became a 6-6 season.

“We’ve got talented receivers, we’ve got a Superman at quarterback, and it’s easy to say that the pass is doing better,” left guard Willie Colon said. “To kind of sum it all up, we’ve got to put in more work.”

During the offseason, general manager Kevin Colbert said the team couldn’t count on Mendenhall in 2012, not after he tore the ACL in his right knee Jan. 1 in Cleveland. Then again, Colbert probably didn’t count on not having a running back capable of gaining even 75 yards in three games.

Redman’s 72 yards (on 32 carries) lead an offense that not long ago figured on Willie Parker or Jerome Bettis gaining that many yards by the end of the third quarter. Jonathan Dwyer (70 yards) is the only other running back with more than 15 yards rushing.

Still, offensive coordinator Todd Haley said the Steelers (1-2) must ease in Mendenhall, who didn’t resume practicing until Labor Day.

“To get another difference-maker back hopefully will be a big deal for us,” Haley said.

Redman and Dwyer are inside runners, while Mendenhall is a turn-the-corner back capable of breaking the big run the Steelers are lacking. Their longest run is a 13-yarder by Redman.

“But I don’t think (the running game) is too much different than it’s been,” Mendenhall said. “It might be perceived that we’re struggling, and it’s not the case. It’s a different offense, we’ve got some different guys, and we’re trying to figure out how to put it together.”

The blocking isn’t totally to blame; Haley gave All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey an unusually high grade after the 34-31 loss Sunday in Oakland. But Colon acknowledged he’s still making the transition from right tackle to left guard, especially while run blocking.

“One thing I’ve learned in the three games I’ve been playing at my position is a lot of what I do makes runs go, as far as pulling and clearing holes,” Colon said. “I personally haven’t been efficient with that. I’m trying my best and working my tail off. There are a lot of blocks that I see, if I were to be more detailed in my work and better at what I do, maybe our run average would be better.”

Roethlisberger has compensated for the absence of a running game by throwing 120 times for 904 yards, eight touchdowns and one interception, by far the most attempts for a Steelers quarterback this early in a season.

Even Joe Gilliam had fewer attempts (112) in 1974, when he threw so often while calling his own plays that it finally led coach Chuck Noll to bench him for Terry Bradshaw.

“I feel good about the guys up front and feel good about the guys carrying the ball,” Haley said. “You will see the run game come along — and it needs to.”

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at arobinson@tribweb.com.

http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/...#ixzz27dtEINaO
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Old 09-27-2012, 08:30 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers’ run game off to worst start in 62 years

“But I don’t think (the running game) is too much different than it’s been,” Mendenhall said. “It might be perceived that we’re struggling, and it’s not the case. It’s a different offense, we’ve got some different guys, and we’re trying to figure out how to put it together.”

I wanna know what hell Rashard Mendenhall is smoking, how much it costs per ounce and who I need to call to get some. Is he serious? Perceived to be struggling? That's like saying a whale is perceived to be a large animal. It's one thing to back your teammates, but that statement is asinine. This running game is embarassing. I'm not sure if RM is the fix to the problem, but I hope so. But that smacks of classic denial to me. And you can't fix a problem, if you deny it exists.

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Old 09-27-2012, 08:48 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers’ run game off to worst start in 62 years

from afar, I just don't like the "Ah gee golly, don't worry, my mistake, it'll be somethin we werk on and it'll be rectified" attitude DERP A DUHR. How the hell can they be so calm about it. It is an effin problem. Von Miller and Dumersmeeel were just the tip of the iceberg for them. If people think Ben is gonna do it all on his own, then you can start makin a countdown to his next gimpy leg that will def stick a fork in them.

Seriously, when are any of these guys gonna get effin serious?
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:44 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers’ run game off to worst start in 62 years

Mendenhall sees that they are only a few solid runs away from having a productive run game. In this NFL its about having enough production to make play action work and they are not as far as the doomsday writers believe.

There are seams that a better back will hit, when we have one in the backfield. The other thing that makes the stats look bad is the poorly executed sprint draw plays. Having Rainey or Danceman stuck in the backfield for 3 yard losses doesnt help the numbers.
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:31 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers’ run game off to worst start in 62 years

Maybe we aren't doing well in the ground game because Haley is not that concerned with it? (just speculating)

Do you honestly care if we win by throwing the ball 50 times a game, or if we win by a "three yeards and a cloud of dust" scheme? Our offense is hardly struggling right now.

When you have an offense that features:

Big Ben (elite QB)
Heath Miller (elite TE)
Mike Wallace (fastest WR in the NFL)
Antonio Brown (first WR to pick up 1000 in the air and 1000 in kick returns)
Jericho Cotchery (savvy veteran)

Why, oh why, would you be concerned with handing the ball off to:

Isaac Redman (injured groin)
Jonathan Dwyer (backup RB that shows some skills)
Chris Rainey (who?)
Baron Batch (who?)

In my mind, the only reason we are running the ball at all right now, is because Haley realizes what Arians did not-- you have to at least make the opposing defense defend the run, even if it is not getting you the production you need. It is all about keeping the opposing defense honest.

Right now, we are a pass-first offense, because that is the personnel we have. We ran the ball so much during preseason probably to throw other teams off.

The reason we are 1-2 right now is not on the offense. Not being able to protect a late 14-point lead on the goddam Raiders falls squarely on the defense. The offense has produced points, kept Ben upright, and eaten up the clock like crazy. Our defense then lets opposing QBs score TDs on a couple big plays. That is nothing that having a running game will fix.
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers’ run game off to worst start in 62 years

Dear Mendy

we love you

please come back





I hath spoken
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:50 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers’ run game off to worst start in 62 years

When the Raiders tried to run with McFadden, it made the defense honor the run and not just drop in pass coverage.

Haley has tried to run the ball, but not abandoned it. When you try to run the football, the defense has to at least defend it pre snap. That is they there is committment to the run game despite lack of success. A better group of RB's might help.
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:51 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers’ run game off to worst start in 62 years



I guess its true..........he is currently the backup RB and everybody likes the backup RB the best!!

Quote:
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we love you

please come back





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Old 09-27-2012, 05:56 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers’ run game off to worst start in 62 years

Quote:
Originally Posted by El-Gonzo Jackson View Post
When the Raiders tried to run with McFadden, it made the defense honor the run and not just drop in pass coverage.

Haley has tried to run the ball, but not abandoned it. When you try to run the football, the defense has to at least defend it pre snap. That is they there is committment to the run game despite lack of success. A better group of RB's might help.
Exactly-- you stated it better than I did.

That is the difference between Haley and Arians. Haley sees the need to make the opposing defense defend the run, even if the ground game is not tearing it up. It doesn't telegraph to the opposing team that "it is a passing play" and hang Ben out to dry.

Arians did not, because that is what the opposing team expects him to do, so he should do the opposite....
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:05 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers’ run game off to worst start in 62 years

Quote:
Originally Posted by El-Gonzo Jackson View Post


I guess its true..........he is currently the backup RB and everybody likes the backup RB the best!!
I've always liked mendenhall better, and think in haley's system he will finally be used the way he should be, they will try to get him out in space more, where he's dangerous

mendenhall will definitely draw more attention than redman from opposing defenses, mainly because of the big play threat. A big hole opens for redman = 10 yard gain, not the end of the world. A nice hole for mendenhall = 25+ yards
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