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Old 12-19-2012, 10:40 PM   #1
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Default Return of running game a must for Steelers offense

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



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/...#ixzz2FYmJxX00
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Old 12-19-2012, 11:45 PM   #2
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Default Re: Return of running game a must for Steelers offense

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
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Old 12-19-2012, 11:48 PM   #3
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Default Re: Return of running game a must for Steelers offense

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fire Arians View Post
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!!!
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Old 12-19-2012, 11:59 PM   #4
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Default Re: Return of running game a must for Steelers offense

O line needs to start opening holes! These backs have no shot!
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:04 AM   #5
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Default Re: Return of running game a must for Steelers offense

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
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:26 AM   #6
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Default Re: Return of running game a must for Steelers offense

Mendenhall’s back, but is Steelers’ running game?

By F. Dale Lolley
published dec 20, 2012



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/art...s#.UNKvps2FEmw
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Old 12-20-2012, 02:11 AM   #7
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Default Re: Return of running game a must for Steelers offense

Appreciate the article still doesn't seem like they will use him a significant amount. I guess we will see Sunday.
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Old 12-20-2012, 07:30 AM   #8
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Default Re: Return of running game a must for Steelers offense

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.
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Old 12-20-2012, 07:48 AM   #9
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Default Re: Return of running game a must for Steelers offense

Quote:
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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.
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Old 12-20-2012, 08:34 AM   #10
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Default Re: Return of running game a must for Steelers offense

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".
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