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Old 12-17-2009, 06:00 AM   #1
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Default Steelers' Mendenhall nears 1,000-yard mark

Steelers' Mendenhall nears 1,000-yard mark
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt...s_658118.html#
By Mark Kaboly
Daily News Sports Editor
Thursday, December 17, 2009

Rashard Mendenhall could be the comeback player of the year — for last year and also this year.

Mendenhall's rookie season was cut short a year ago when a Ray Lewis' tackle broke his shoulder during a Week 4 game. This year, the first month of the season saw Mendenhall touch the ball nine times, get benched, then get called out by coach Mike Tomlin for "not being on details" during practice during the week.

What a difference the past three months have made for the former first-round pick.

Mendenhall was inserted into the starting lineup after Willie Parker was injured in the Week 3 loss to Cincinnati, and hasn't looked back.

Mendenhall needs 60 yards against Green Bay on Sunday to surpass 1,000 yards.

It's an unlikely ending to what was a strange beginning to the season for Mendenhall.

"I have always had faith and confidence in myself if given a chance," Mendenhall said.

Mendenhall is ranked right among the league leaders in rushing if his numbers are projected over 13 games.

Mendenhall would be the seventh-leading rusher in the league just behind Adrian Peterson, DeAngelo Williams and Thomas Jones with 1,163 yards if he would've put up the same numbers in the first three games he didn't start than he did in the 10 he did.

It hasn't gone unnoticed.

"Rashard has played consistently well since the latter part of September or October," Tomlin said. "We'll increase his opportunities."

That's a far cry from where Mendenhall was at the beginning of the season when he fell out of favor with Tomlin.

But looking back, Mendenhall said that sitting down against the Bengals may have helped him out more than anything else in the long run.

"It helped to get an understanding of exactly what they wanted and what they were looking for," Mendenhall said. "It was little things they wanted to see, so they are more comfortable with me."

The coaching staff has gotten so comfortable with Mendenhall that they decided to use him in favor of respected veteran third-down back Mewelde Moore.

Mendenhall also has 17 catches for 158 yards and a touchdown this year.

"I feel good that they have confidence in me to do that," Mendenhall said. "The passing game is good in the NFL, so to be able to do that they have to have a great deal of trust in you."

Mendenhall has gained the trust of his teammates.

"I think he had to prove it to himself," tackle Max Starks said. "He went out there and earned a little more respect than we gave him."

Running with the best

Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall is among the league leaders in rushing despite not starting the first three games of the season. Here are the rankings of the top 10 rushers in the league, with projected totals if they had started all 13 games this year:

Player: Yards

Chris Johnson, Tennessee: 1,626

Steven Jackson, St. Louis: 1,279

Cedric Benson, Cincinnati: 1,258*

Adrian Peterson, Minnesota: 1,200

DeAngelo Williams, Carolina: 1,196*

Thomas Jones, N.Y. Jets: 1,167

Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers: 1,163*

Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville: 1,136

Ryan Grant, Green Bay: 1,068

Ray Rice, Baltimore: 1,041

*—Projected if started 13 games

Mark Kaboly can be reached at mkaboly@dailynewsemail.com or 412-664-9161.
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Old 12-17-2009, 07:09 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers' Mendenhall nears 1,000-yard mark

This kid's future is very bright if the Steelers get the right coaches to coach the line and call
plays that make sense! Glad to have Mendy.
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Old 12-17-2009, 09:15 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers' Mendenhall nears 1,000-yard mark

Her's the thing. He only needs 60 yards but the way BA calls plays it might take all 3 remaining games to get them. Pathetic to not use such an up and coming weapon like him. He should have about 1,300 yards by now.
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Old 12-17-2009, 09:18 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers' Mendenhall nears 1,000-yard mark

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Originally Posted by mesaSteeler View Post
Steelers' Mendenhall nears 1,000-yard mark
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt...s_658118.html#
Mendenhall would be the seventh-leading rusher in the league just behind Adrian Peterson, DeAngelo Williams and Thomas Jones with 1,163 yards if he would've put up the same numbers in the first three games he didn't start than he did in the 10 he did.

It hasn't gone unnoticed.

"Rashard has played consistently well since the latter part of September or October," Tomlin said. "We'll increase his opportunities."

Mark Kaboly can be reached at mkaboly@dailynewsemail.com or 412-664-9161.
... and thats because we HARDLY ran the ball. (maybe just maybe, we wouldve won more games with an established running game)

and as for Tomlin... well... MAYBE YOU SHOULDVE "INCREASED HIS OPPORTUNITIES"A LOOOOOONG TIME AGO
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Old 12-17-2009, 12:06 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers' Mendenhall nears 1,000-yard mark

Sweet. And, as people are learning, he can block and catch out of the backfield. This was a quality 1st rd pick-up, and he's going to be a very solid RB for us for years to come.
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Old 12-17-2009, 03:51 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers' Mendenhall nears 1,000-yard mark

Ya way to go Rashard....one of the few bright spots in a rather dissapointing season....
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Old 12-17-2009, 04:05 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers' Mendenhall nears 1,000-yard mark

On a side note, Santonio Holmes eclipsed the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the first time in his career this season.

Glad to see such good production out of our young playmakers!
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Old 12-17-2009, 04:46 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers' Mendenhall nears 1,000-yard mark

I truly hope our running game gets an overhaul in the offseason, meaning some more successful schemes and signing some good linemen, a fullback and also one other able RB to help Mendy out. I think we do have the talent to run the ball effectively, but our schemes suck and for all I hear about the O-Lines supposed "strength" being run blocking, well, I watched all I could of that Cleveland game. Maybe it was Mendy's fault, maybe it was theirs... I'm going with them.
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Old 12-17-2009, 05:19 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers' Mendenhall nears 1,000-yard mark

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Originally Posted by Angus Burgher View Post
I truly hope our running game gets an overhaul in the offseason, meaning some more successful schemes and signing some good linemen, a fullback and also one other able RB to help Mendy out. I think we do have the talent to run the ball effectively, but our schemes suck and for all I hear about the O-Lines supposed "strength" being run blocking, well, I watched all I could of that Cleveland game. Maybe it was Mendy's fault, maybe it was theirs... I'm going with them.
David Johnson has been better than good for us in what limited packages we used him as a FB. We still got Summers (he's on IR, but next year), he didnt do too hot in preseason but we still gotta see what he can do. And of course, the notorious Carey Davis can help us
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Old 12-17-2009, 06:44 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers' Mendenhall nears 1,000-yard mark

Man I hope we make playoffs, knowing BA, that's the only way he'll reach 1k!
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