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Old 12-21-2010, 02:11 PM   #1
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Default Mendenhall left out on key drive

http://www.goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/...2219950/-1/RSS

With two minutes left, Rashard Mendenhall and I shouldn't have had the same view of the game Sunday.

Down 22-17 to the New York Jets, the Pittsburgh Steelers were on their final drive and had their 1,000-yard rusher watching from the sidelines.

Standing on the field, I look to my left and see No. 34 bouncing on the white chalk.

Why, you might ask? I did.

"I trust, and as a team we trust the guys in those situations in the two-minute offense," Mendenhall said. "Mewelde (Moore), that's his specialty. He does that (along with) Isaac Redman."

OK. Team guy. I get it.

"Being the lead dog on first and second down, I play a lot of plays," Mendenhall continued. "To have a chance to step out and have those guys, they've come through and are very productive. We're confident in whoever is out there."
I'm shaking my head now.

Mendenhall rushed for 100 yards Sunday, but only carried the ball 17 times. He obviously was in the game for more than just those 17 plays, but at age 23, he could have mustered up enough energy on that final drive instead of wasting it on the sideline.

With his size and speed, Mendenhall can turn a short swing pass into a long gain.

The Jets were playing prevent defense, tailor-made for a halfback to cut up like scissors.
There was a time when the starting halfback didn't leave the field, especially in crunch time. Now we have all these third-down backs who come in on the most critical play of an offensive series.

Something is very wrong with that picture.

Now, Moore and Redman have made key plays this season. Redman's game-winning touchdown catch in Pittsburgh's 13-10 victory at Baltimore put the Steelers in the position to win the AFC North and get a first-round bye in the playoffs.

So he and Moore are key guys, but Mendenhall should have been in down the stretch Sunday.

I know Jets veteran defensive end Jason Taylor is strong and savvy, but I got a hunch he wouldn't have slammed Mendenhall in the end zone for a safety like he did Moore with 2 minutes, 45 seconds left in the game.

Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said his team didn't correctly block the first-and-10 play from its 3-yard line.

Taylor said he anticipated it a little bit, but also that, "I was lucky that time."

The safety put the Jets ahead by five so the Steelers had to go for a touchdown to win on that final drive rather than a field goal to tie and force overtime on their home field.

"I felt like that was a play we could have gotten in the end zone with and it didn't happen," Mendenhall said.

The best chance of that play going for six was to give Mendenhall, not Moore, the ball on a draw handoff out of the shotgun.

So as much as I'm piling on Mendenhall, Tomlin and his coaching staff deserve the blame because they should either, one, have him in the game or, two, develop his game to the point where they trust him to be on the field for the two-minute offense.

As much as the third-down back has evolved into a key position, the concept is keeping the team's best players off the field.

In 2009, the Minnesota Vikings were down 20-17 at Pittsburgh with two minutes left in the game. Brett Favre dumped the ball to Adrian Peterson and he turned the short pass into a 29-yard again.

The Vikings subbed in one of those third-down backs, Chester Taylor, for Peterson, who is arguably the best back in the NFL.

Next play, Favre hits Taylor for seven yards.

Peterson is still on the sidelines.

Next play, Favre went to Taylor again, but this time Taylor couldn't hold on to the pass, and that's not the worst of it.

Pittsburgh linebacker Keyaron Fox intercepted the Favre pass that deflected off Taylor's hands and went 82 yards for a touchdown.

When the game is in the balance, keep the featured backs in and let the subs and reporters watch the game from the sidelines.

DUANE RANKIN can be reached at 878-2210 or by e-mail at duane.rankin@timesnews.com

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Old 12-21-2010, 02:15 PM   #2
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Default Re: Mendenhall left out on key drive

Mendy should've been in the last play. Needed as many open hands in as possible, but whatever.
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Old 12-21-2010, 02:49 PM   #3
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Default Re: Mendenhall left out on key drive

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Mendy should've been in the last play. Needed as many open hands in as possible, but whatever.
Agreed- use him as a blocking back while we run the offense through Spaeth as the first option
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Old 12-21-2010, 02:55 PM   #4
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Default Re: Mendenhall left out on key drive

It's a joke he wasnt on the field for that play from the endzone. He is the most complete back on the team. Power and speed, nothing against Moore but he is a 3rd down back,nothing more.
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Old 12-21-2010, 03:12 PM   #5
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Default Re: Mendenhall left out on key drive

He had 100 yards on like 17 carries... Why didn't he get more carries through out the game? Maybe the Steelers would be a head instead of playing from behind in the final minutes of the game
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Old 12-21-2010, 04:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: Mendenhall left out on key drive

This is what frustrates me most about the Steelers and is what has ever since last season. I can understand giving him a "breather" every once in a while but, seriously, I cannot understand why we take him out for entire drives at a time. Moore can't do crap, at least not in the running game, but I think Mendy is a better receiver than Moore anyways so Moore should never be in as far as Im concerned. Redman is good and I dont mind seeing him every so often but again, it makes NO sense to me to not have your best player in if they can play, unless they have an injury and you need to rest them. Especially in key situations, its one thign when Moore or Redman go in when we're up by 14 or something but there have been numerous times this season when they go in at key, crucial situations, which makes me want to tear my hair out almost as much as Arians's playclling (and, if Arians is at all responsible for this RB swapping it makes me despise him even more).

In all honesty, I seriously think if we stopped this RB bs and just left Mendy in, we would have MUCH less offensive futility, MANY more offensive TDs or scoring drives, and Mendy could have like 1400+ yards right now. Has anybody ever stopped to think that maybe THIS is why Mendy and the offense looks so futile sometimes, because it kills his momentum and doesnt let him (or anybody, for that matter) get in a rhtyhm?

Before Ben came back this wasn't AS big a problem (although I do remember it being done a little bit, which is still too much IMO) but I distinctly remember we would leave Mendy in on 3rd downs and I dont think we were taking him out for drives at a time...
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Old 12-21-2010, 05:06 PM   #7
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Default Re: Mendenhall left out on key drive

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Originally Posted by lionslicer View Post
He had 100 yards on like 17 carries... Why didn't he get more carries through out the game? Maybe the Steelers would be a head instead of playing from behind in the final minutes of the game
because doing the same thing that works over and over is too predictable. you gotta mix in the plays that don't work with the plays that do work ,to keep the defenses guessing ... arians 101
i mean the no huddle works well most of the time , so the most effective way to use it , is to not use it ... ya see how confusing it is ? gives defensive coordinators nightmares .... bruce is a genius ...
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Old 12-21-2010, 05:49 PM   #8
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Default Re: Mendenhall left out on key drive

Just a question... does Mendy have some kind of breathing issue or something else going on health wise that not everybody knows? It seems that when he is over on the sideline, he is really sucking wind, bigtime...

Maybe I am just seeing things...

Mike in La Crosse, WI
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Old 12-21-2010, 06:40 PM   #9
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Default Re: Mendenhall left out on key drive

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Originally Posted by WisconsinSteelerMan View Post
Just a question... does Mendy have some kind of breathing issue or something else going on health wise that not everybody knows? It seems that when he is over on the sideline, he is really sucking wind, bigtime...

Maybe I am just seeing things...

Mike in La Crosse, WI
Arians told Mendy to start smoking a pack a day to keep the weight off
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Old 12-21-2010, 06:55 PM   #10
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Default Re: Mendenhall left out on key drive

I would rather see Jonathon Dwyer active on game day than slow old Moore!
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