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Old 10-05-2009, 08:46 PM   #1
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Default Rashard Mendenhall: One-Week Wonder, or Sign of Things to Come?

Rashard Mendenhall: One-Week Wonder, or Sign of Things to Come?
http://nfl.fanhouse.com/2009/10/05/r...hings-to-come/
Posted Oct 05, 2009 3:25PM By Dan Graziano (RSS feed)

One week removed from Mike Tomlin's doghouse, second-year Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall was the biggest man on the field.PITTSBURGH -- Mike Tomlin wouldn't play along. Oh, it sounded like a good story. Rashard Mendenhall, the Steelers' young backup running back, was benched in Week 3 because Tomlin didn't think he was paying close enough attention to his playbook. Mendenhall was contrite, and spent the week telling folks he hoped he'd get a second chance because he knew what he'd done wrong and was determined to make up for it. Willie Parker, the starting running back, went down with a toe injury, and Mendenhall stepped in and shredded the Chargers on national TV. Great story, but Tomlin says he isn't buying.

"I'm not going to take any credit for that," the Steelers' coach said when asked if he felt he'd motivated Mendenhall. "I didn't rush for a yard tonight."

That put Tomlin 165 yards behind Mendenhall, who had more rushing yards than anybody else in the NFL on Sunday. He posted the highest rushing total by a Steeler since Parker had 223 on Dec. 7, 2006, and he became the first Steeler not named Ben Roethlisberger to run for a touchdown this year. And while all anybody wanted to talk about Sunday was the big night the kid had and the crucial victory that moved the defending champs back to .500, those 165 yards could mean a lot more to the Steelers than one early-October win.

"I was able to be me and be comfortable," Mendenhall said. "All I wanted was a chance to be out there and for people to see me and who I am, because people haven't seen me play too much to this point."

Rashard Mendenhall, you may or may not remember, is supposed to be a star. He was a first-round draft pick. The Steelers selected him 23rd overall in 2008. With the very next pick after that, the Tennessee Titans took a guy of whom you may have heard. Guy by the name of Chris Johnson. Coming out of the University of Illinois, Mendenhall struck the Steelers as a back around whom they could build the future of their running game.

But "future" doesn't have to mean "distant future," and in the NFL the smart teams know that. The Steelers are 2-2, looking up at both the Bengals and the Ravens (one of whom will be 4-1 this time next week) in the AFC North. If Parker's toe injury is going to linger, or if Parker has simply lost a step, and if Mendenhall is healthy and with the program, there's nothing that's going to stop the Steelers from giving him the ball. Maybe he and Parker split touches when and if Parker comes back. Maybe he leaves Parker in the dust and finishes the season as the feature back. Anything's possible, and the fact that Mendenhall played the way he did Sunday night against the Chargers shows you that he's capable of handling the job.

"Rashard definitely proved himself tonight," Pittsburgh tackle Max Starks said. "He was toting the rock with authority."

Which is what the Steelers and their fans have been waiting to see for the past year and a half. For one night, he showed everybody a glimpse of what he was supposed to be. He made the much-maligned Steelers offensive line look all-world. He led an offense that couldn't be stopped when the other team was desperate to stop it. He backed up a confidence his coach claims has not wavered.

"I don't lack confidence in Rashard, even prior to tonight," Tomlin said. "He's a very talented young man, a good guy. He went through what some guys go through. He addressed it and moved forward, and tonight he showed what he's capable of doing. He needs to continue to do that and build off of that as we move forward. I'm sure that's his mindset, but we're going to make sure that our actions match our mentality."

Translation: Mendenhall is still young, and he's still learning. But he's also very, very good. And if he's going to be that, then he can help the Steelers, this year, right now. And the Steelers aren't going to be afraid to let him.
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Old 10-05-2009, 11:26 PM   #2
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Default Re: Rashard Mendenhall: One-Week Wonder, or Sign of Things to Come?

Mendenhall did a great job in the game against the Chargers. I think that the message was received and he proved it! Willie Parker who?
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Old 10-06-2009, 07:43 AM   #3
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Default Re: Rashard Mendenhall: One-Week Wonder, or Sign of Things to Come?

I've been thinking about this the last two nights, and I wonder is the question so much about the RBs or the way our O-line actually performed?

Hell I think even I could have gained 80 yards Sunday night with the holes those guys were making.
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Old 10-06-2009, 07:47 AM   #4
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Default Re: Rashard Mendenhall: One-Week Wonder, or Sign of Things to Come?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stlrtruck View Post
I've been thinking about this the last two nights, and I wonder is the question so much about the RBs or the way our O-line actually performed?

Hell I think even I could have gained 80 yards Sunday night with the holes those guys were making.
I agree and the OL deserves a huge heaping spoonful of credit for Mendy having so much success against the Chargers. Not that he isn't a diamond in the rough himself and his hard work didn't make a huge contribution to the success of the running game, but I want to see Mendy and the OL continue to dominate with the running attack before I go gaga over him and even consider throwing Parker under the bus.
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Old 10-06-2009, 11:39 AM   #5
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Default Re: Rashard Mendenhall: One-Week Wonder, or Sign of Things to Come?

Mendenhall simply did what most of us who saw him run in college knew he was capable of doing. This is no exception, more like rule (although I don't expect 170 yards rushing from him every week, especially splitting carries with Parker).
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Old 10-06-2009, 12:42 PM   #6
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Default Re: Rashard Mendenhall: One-Week Wonder, or Sign of Things to Come?

Well IMO I think its how well the other teams we play play defense. Mendy ran all over a 28th ranked defense with their nose tackle and D line banged up. Of course the OL helped him out huge Sunday as well.
This has been the same situation as Parker has been in the last few seasons. He looks good against the Browns and the Chargers, but against the Ravens he plays terrible. I think it all depends on the defense we play and how well the OL plays.
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Old 10-06-2009, 02:48 PM   #7
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Default Re: Rashard Mendenhall: One-Week Wonder, or Sign of Things to Come?

I am excited over his performance, but I would like to see him do this on a regular basis and not just against teams with bad run defenses.

I do however think he has earned the role of starter with his performance. Lets see what he does against Minnesota and Baltimore.
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Old 10-06-2009, 02:50 PM   #8
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Default Re: Rashard Mendenhall: One-Week Wonder, or Sign of Things to Come?

parker had a 100+ game against the chargers last time we played them...mendy's true test will be against viking's or browns...if parker isnt back by then
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Old 10-06-2009, 02:51 PM   #9
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Default Re: Rashard Mendenhall: One-Week Wonder, or Sign of Things to Come?

Mendy is up for Player of the Week..
http://www.nfl.com/partner?partnerTy...air-and-ground
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Old 10-06-2009, 03:00 PM   #10
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Default Re: Rashard Mendenhall: One-Week Wonder, or Sign of Things to Come?

I know it was the Chargers but still its not his fault who he plays against I like the way he finished runs and he ran hard everytime he had a chance and also picked up the blitz a couple of times
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