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Old 09-26-2011, 08:56 AM   #1
SteelCityMom
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Default Steelers have nowhere to run

Kovacevic: Steelers have nowhere to run
By Dejan Kovacevic, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, September 26, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS At least some of the shrapnel from the Steelers' season-opening implosion in Baltimore has begun to reassemble.

It's scattershot, but it's there.

That old defense finally found its first turnover thanks to James Harrison and Troy Polamalu, even if leaks still sprung. Ben Roethlisberger has found another notch to his throwing, even if a few of his decisions have been stupefying. And Mike Wallace has amazingly found a path to make his fantasy of 2,000 receiving yards come true.

The pieces, if not the whole, show promise. But as this fabulously flawed 23-20 victory over the Peyton-free Indianapolis Colts illustrated Sunday night, the glue has gone missing.

And that glue, from this vantage point high atop Lucas Oil Stadium, looked a lot like a running game.

Yeah, I know ... what running game?

Rashard Mendenhall carried 18 times for 37 yards, a meager 2.1 per attempt. Mewelde Moore added nine yards, Isaac Redman six, and the Steelers as a whole rushed for a whopping 67. Through three games, Mendenhall has a total of 148 yards and a single touchdown.

That's ridiculous.

"It was tough sledding out there," Mendenhall told me with a slight head shake. "We're going to need to run at some point, so it's something we're going to need to work on."

Maybe it was no coincidence, but coach Mike Tomlin used the same term.
"It was tough sledding all night for the most part in that area," Tomlin said. "We've got to do better."

They most certainly do. Anyone thinking the Steelers can return to this same stadium for Super Bowl XLVI without a semblance of a running game is fooling themselves.

No, I'm not partaking in the prehistoric notion that they need to play "Steelers football," either. I know this team doesn't have a Jerome Bettis, I know the line has been awful, and I know the don't-touch-anyone NFL has become a passing league. Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has every reason to think pass first.
But here's a sample of what happens when you can't run at all: Of the Steelers' 16 third-down plays, 12 were third-and-7 or longer. Five of the latter were converted because of good passes by Roethlisberger, but five were incompletions, and two others resulted in sacks and lost fumbles that led to Indianapolis points.

The Colts knew what was coming and adjusted.

The same Colts who had allowed an average of 136 yards through their first two losses, fourth-highest in the NFL.

"It's very important that we get that running back," receiver Hines Ward said. "We're a much more balanced team when we're doing that, and it really opens up the middle of the field for me and Heath Miller to make catches, too. It helps everything. When you can't run, you get one-dimensional. But you know, it's the third week. We're still getting comfortable."
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Old 09-26-2011, 12:02 PM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers have nowhere to run

Well...yeah, but let's not put it all on the O-line either and let's place a substantial amount of blame on Mendenhall.
He needs to stop waiting for a hole to open up, a red carpet to roll out and a large neon arrow to light up telling him to "Run Here".

Here's an idea:

When we call a running play, let's send out six or seven chairs too. Then, when Mendy gets the ball, he and the linemen can sit in a circle and discuss his options.

He's a RUNNING back --- SO RUN ALREADY!
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Old 09-26-2011, 02:49 PM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers have nowhere to run

Quote:
Originally Posted by FanSince72 View Post
Well...yeah, but let's not put it all on the O-line either and let's place a substantial amount of blame on Mendenhall.
It appears Ed.B. of the P-G agrees

I noticed last night that Mendy was consistently not hitting the
right holes, especially if they developed in the middle of the line
(off RG or A/B gap. Do you also see this, and if so, is does he not
have this vision or is he basically afraid of contact?

ME: Noticed the same and it is part of my story for Tuesday.


http://plus.sites.post-gazette.com/i...ports/steelers

Moore appeared to be making some gains by not dancing

IMO we see more of Redman in Houston
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Old 09-26-2011, 03:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers have nowhere to run

Quote:
Originally Posted by FanSince72 View Post
Well...yeah, but let's not put it all on the O-line either and let's place a substantial amount of blame on Mendenhall.
He needs to stop waiting for a hole to open up, a red carpet to roll out and a large neon arrow to light up telling him to "Run Here".

Here's an idea:

When we call a running play, let's send out six or seven chairs too. Then, when Mendy gets the ball, he and the linemen can sit in a circle and discuss his options.

He's a RUNNING back --- SO RUN ALREADY!
I'll tell you how to wake Mendenhall up. Put Redman in his place. Do that for two weeks and then give him another shot. He'll be a different runner I'd be willing to bet. Look what happen his second year when Tomlin sat him for having a bad practice.

Let him know he may NOT be the man!!!
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Old 09-26-2011, 03:19 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers have nowhere to run

Mendenhall must not have very good vision, or he's a sissy. Not sure which, maybe both.
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Old 09-26-2011, 03:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers have nowhere to run

remember when a solid o-line was the standard no matter where the Steelers drafted?..now cats use that as an excuse
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Old 09-26-2011, 03:25 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers have nowhere to run

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Originally Posted by cloppbeast View Post
Mendenhall must not have very good vision, or he's a sissy. Not sure which, maybe both.
he's a different kind of runner, he looks for the home run every time. works well if we have a line that can open holes. he definitely has vision but if he's seeing nothing, then he's not the type of back to just run into the pile
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Old 09-26-2011, 04:18 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers have nowhere to run

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Originally Posted by Fire Arians View Post
he's a different kind of runner, he looks for the home run every time. works well if we have a line that can open holes. he definitely has vision but if he's seeing nothing, then he's not the type of back to just run into the pile
Right. But Redman does hit the pile and either comes out the other side for positive yards or moves it where he wants it. But what does it matter what I think, or anyone else who happens to agree with me. We don't call the shots. I'm just saying I'd love to see what he could do having about 20-25 carries in a game.
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Old 09-26-2011, 04:32 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers have nowhere to run

Come on folks. While i agree that Mendy was missing holes last night, Adrian Peterson would have run for less than 75 yards last night with this offensive line.

Plus, David Johnson looked afraid of contact.

Anyone think Mike Wallace is even an Average run blocking receiver?

The run game has more blocking problems than it does Mendy indecisive problem.
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Old 09-26-2011, 05:32 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers have nowhere to run

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fire Arians View Post
he's a different kind of runner, he looks for the home run every time. works well if we have a line that can open holes. he definitely has vision but if he's seeing nothing, then he's not the type of back to just run into the pile
I agree about the "home run" part and that's exeactly what Parker was all about as well (notice Parker's not here anymore...).

As far as the line being able to open holes, part of that falls to the running back too.
While it's true that a RB's job is to break through holes created by the O-line, part of his job is to be able to see even small openings - hit them - and help create those holes as well.

No O-line is going to consistently open up gaping holes that someone could drive a truck through.
Those kinds of holes are nice when they happen, but they don't happen all that often so it falls to the RB to often make something out of nothing.

Bettis made a career out of doing just that and I've often wondered: Was it that he had a great O-line in front of him or did he have an average O-line that he made look great?
I've watched this team for almost forty years and I don't recall a time when we were successful and didn't have a "Big Back" (relative to the overall size of the players of the day). But since Bettis, we've been going in the direction of smaller backs and have had so-so- success with them.
Maybe it's just that we're a "Big Back" team and that's that.
Maybe if we could get someone built more like Bettis, we wouldn't need a perfect O-line (which, by the way I don't think we've ever really had).

I'd love to see how we'd do if we had a back like Mike Tolbert who (to me) looks just like Bettis and I think runs like he did.
I'll bet if we could get him (or someone like him) and give him a chance to get used to our style of running, he'd be awesome and our O-line would suddenly look like the best in the business.

Just some thoughts...
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