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fordfixer
06-17-2008, 01:19 AM
By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 73070.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_573070.html)


The great Eric Dickerson rushed for a NFL rookie record 1,808 yards and 18 touchdowns in 1983.
The Vikings' Adrian Peterson, a modern version of Dickerson, set the single-game rushing record with 296 yards last season while becoming the first rookie in league history to tally two 200-yard rushing games.

Three running backs were selected in the first round of this year's draft. Steelers rookie Rashard Mendenhall, the No. 23 overall pick, said he understands the lofty demands expected from his position.

"It's all reaction,'' Mendenhall said. "There's a hole, you run through it.''

First-round running backs and big plays go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Since 2003, 13 running backs have gone in the first round. Five produced 1,000-yard seasons, six had 200-plus carries and seven rushed for at least five touchdowns.

In 2007, the two running backs selected in the first round enjoyed monster seasons.

Peterson carried the ball 238 times for 1,341 yards and 12 touchdowns. Marshawn Lynch carried 280 times for 1,115 yards and seven touchdowns.

Other than Cleveland tackle Joe Thomas, no other offensive player taken in the first round had a bigger impact than Peterson and Lynch.

Two-time Pro Bowler Willie Parker returns from a broken leg as the No. 1 running back, but it goes without saying the Steelers didn't change their draft plans when Mendenhall unexpectedly fell into their laps so he could be Parker's caddie.

If Mendenhall doesn't play right away, it'll be because he's injured.

Compared with other positions, the learning curve for a rookie running back is more like a straight line, making it easier to contribute early.

"It's easier than a quarterback trying to pick up protections and plays and read defenses,'' Mendenhall said. "It's a different kind of thing.''

Asked about the night-and-day difference between pro and college football, Mendenhall smiled and shrugged.

"It takes you back to high school going to college,'' said Mendenhall, who started one season at Illinois. "It's just what you think it is. Everybody's big, everybody's fast, everybody's talented.''

Based on early returns from voluntary workouts that concluded Thursday, Mendenhall, in the venacular, is who we thought he was.

His impressive blend of power and speed can take your breath away.

Not only do the Steelers covet Mendenhall's ability to run between the tackles and catch the ball out of the backfield, they also worked him out returning kickoffs because of how quickly he reaches top speed.

Mendenhall is a playmaker. Even when he's not in the backfield, the Steelers want to give him an opportunity to make plays.

"I've got a lot of confidence,'' Mendenhall said, "but you've got to learn this playbook and this game.

"Each day's practice you get more confidence. The more you do it, the better you are.''

Expect to see plenty of Mendenhall in 2008.
:tt1

steelblood
06-17-2008, 07:50 AM
Returning kickoffs will be a great place for him to instantly upgrade this team. We must get this kid 15 touches a game at least.

Shawn
06-17-2008, 09:34 AM
I like him returning kicks. But, I certainly hope that we see ALOT of him running the ball this season.

Ozey74
06-17-2008, 09:50 AM
Isn't special teams play a strength of Mewelde Moore? I'd like to see what he's got before we put our 1st round pick in there. :2c

AngryAsian
06-17-2008, 09:51 AM
I like him coming out of the backfield this season and being the Edge James for Ben this year.

steelblood
06-17-2008, 10:12 AM
Isn't special teams play a strength of Mewelde Moore? I'd like to see what he's got before we put our 1st round pick in there. :2c

I know what you are saying, but putting Moore AND Mendenhall back there will be a shot in the arm to our pathetic special teams. Certainly, Mendenhall could get injured, but he could also score two or three touchdowns and be the difference in making the playoffs. For me, it is a no brainer. As long as Mendenhall is not our starter, he should return kicks. It is one of the best ways to maximize his value and get him the ball.

Maroney returned kicks well for the Pats as a rookie. I see Mendenhall as a similar (if not better) late first rounder.

AngryAsian
06-17-2008, 10:14 AM
Isn't special teams play a strength of Mewelde Moore? I'd like to see what he's got before we put our 1st round pick in there. :2c

I know what you are saying, but putting Moore AND Mendenhall back there will be a shot in the arm to our pathetic special teams. Certainly, Mendenhall could get injured, but he could also score two or three touchdowns and be the difference in making the playoffs. For me, it is a no brainer. As long as Mendenhall is not our starter, he should return kicks. It is one of the best ways to maximize his value and get him the ball.

Maroney returned kicks well for the Pats as a rookie. I see Mendenhall as a similar (if not better) late first rounder.


Agreed. I wouldn't be at all disappointed about this tandem back there fielding our kickoffs. Talk about durability and difficulty in bringing down.

Shawn
06-17-2008, 10:35 AM
Isn't special teams play a strength of Mewelde Moore? I'd like to see what he's got before we put our 1st round pick in there. :2c

I know what you are saying, but putting Moore AND Mendenhall back there will be a shot in the arm to our pathetic special teams. Certainly, Mendenhall could get injured, but he could also score two or three touchdowns and be the difference in making the playoffs. For me, it is a no brainer. As long as Mendenhall is not our starter, he should return kicks. It is one of the best ways to maximize his value and get him the ball.

Maroney returned kicks well for the Pats as a rookie. I see Mendenhall as a similar (if not better) late first rounder.

Mendenhall is a better back than Maroney. He is a more complete back than Maroney.

RuthlessBurgher
06-17-2008, 11:00 AM
Three running backs were selected in the first round of this year's draft.

I've complained on here about John Harris being the worst football columnist in Pittsburgh, but the Trib's editors apparently suck as well. How do you get a simple fact like the number of first round RB's wrong in a major newspaper? It takes all of 10 seconds to check the NFL.com DraftTracker in case you were unsure, but I knew off the top of my head that Darren McFadden, Jonathan Stewart, Felix Jones, Rashard Mendenhall, and Chris Johnson were all taken in the first. :HeadBanger

Ozey74
06-17-2008, 11:14 AM
Isn't special teams play a strength of Mewelde Moore? I'd like to see what he's got before we put our 1st round pick in there. :2c

I know what you are saying, but putting Moore AND Mendenhall back there will be a shot in the arm to our pathetic special teams. Certainly, Mendenhall could get injured, but he could also score two or three touchdowns and be the difference in making the playoffs. For me, it is a no brainer. As long as Mendenhall is not our starter, he should return kicks. It is one of the best ways to maximize his value and get him the ball.

Maroney returned kicks well for the Pats as a rookie. I see Mendenhall as a similar (if not better) late first rounder.

I do see your point, and I do agree with you. As long as he's not starting, he should be returning kicks. I have a feeling that he will be sharing duties w/FWP and being getting plenty of PT in the backfield. But, if wasn't getting any time at RB, I wouldn't be opposed to seeing him on ST. I still would like to see what Moore can do on ST. He does have some talent!!

06-17-2008, 02:27 PM
Two-time Pro Bowler Willie Parker returns from a broken leg as the No. 1 running back, but it goes without saying the Steelers didn't change their draft plans when Mendenhall unexpectedly fell into their laps so he could be Parker's caddie.

Ya'all better get with the program. Trains a leavin...better not get caught without a ticket.

It's just a matter of time. I say Mendenhall is the starter by week 6.

SteelHoss
06-17-2008, 02:51 PM
Training camp is creeping up on us. It is certainly going to be interesting seeing how this all plays out. This is the first time in my Steeler memories that we have been loaded with a group of RBs this talented. My thinking is the team is sitting on a keg of Whoopy that has a very short fuse. Any one of our new guys have the ability to make this a very exciting and memorable season.

LasVegasGuy
06-17-2008, 02:54 PM
Two-time Pro Bowler Willie Parker returns from a broken leg as the No. 1 running back, but it goes without saying the Steelers didn't change their draft plans when Mendenhall unexpectedly fell into their laps so he could be Parker's caddie.

Ya'all better get with the program. Trains a leavin...better not get caught without a ticket.

It's just a matter of time. I say Mendenhall is the starter by week 6.


Have you been drinking that beer in your sig? Week 6? Mendenhall will be the starter by week 2 after Parker puts up decent stats but technically has a stinker game. I predict 23 carries and 98 yards. Take away his longest run which will be about 39 yards and your left with 22 carries and 59 yards which equates to a hefty 2.68 yac :roll: :roll:

Tomlin declares enough is enough with this all or nothing rushing attack and inserts Mendenhall into the starting lineup but refuses to declare him a starter. Mendenhall has a monster game and the rest is history my friend.

NKySteeler
06-17-2008, 02:54 PM
Training camp is creeping up on us.

Yup.... 40 days till camp starts!..... :tt1 :tt1 :tt1

Shawn
06-17-2008, 03:01 PM
Two-time Pro Bowler Willie Parker returns from a broken leg as the No. 1 running back, but it goes without saying the Steelers didn't change their draft plans when Mendenhall unexpectedly fell into their laps so he could be Parker's caddie.

Ya'all better get with the program. Trains a leavin...better not get caught without a ticket.

It's just a matter of time. I say Mendenhall is the starter by week 6.

Parker would have to lay an egg to lose the starter job to Mendy by week 6. Even if mendy is showing his elite ability...I don't see Tomlin benching his pro bowl, hard working, vet RB in favor of Mendy. I'm not saying Mendy isn't going to be a much better back but I don't think it will effect the starting line up his rookie season. just my 2 cent.

Ozey74
06-17-2008, 03:10 PM
Two-time Pro Bowler Willie Parker returns from a broken leg as the No. 1 running back, but it goes without saying the Steelers didn't change their draft plans when Mendenhall unexpectedly fell into their laps so he could be Parker's caddie.

Ya'all better get with the program. Trains a leavin...better not get caught without a ticket.

It's just a matter of time. I say Mendenhall is the starter by week 6.

Parker would have to lay an egg to lose the starter job to Mendy by week 6. Even if mendy is showing his elite ability...I don't see Tomlin benching his pro bowl, hard working, vet RB in favor of Mendy. I'm not saying Mendy isn't going to be a much better back but I don't think it will effect the starting line up his rookie season. just my 2 cent.

I don't see them totally benching FWP, but if Mendenhall is everything we think he can be, at some point in the season I can see it being a RB by committee with Mendenall getting most of the touches.

SteelHoss
06-17-2008, 03:10 PM
Two-time Pro Bowler Willie Parker returns from a broken leg as the No. 1 running back, but it goes without saying the Steelers didn't change their draft plans when Mendenhall unexpectedly fell into their laps so he could be Parker's caddie.

Ya'all better get with the program. Trains a leavin...better not get caught without a ticket.

It's just a matter of time. I say Mendenhall is the starter by week 6.

Parker would have to lay an egg to lose the starter job to Mendy by week 6. Even if mendy is showing his elite ability...I don't see Tomlin benching his pro bowl, hard working, vet RB in favor of Mendy. I'm not saying Mendy isn't going to be a much better back but I don't think it will effect the starting line up his rookie season. just my 2 cent.

:Agree Tomlin and Ariens will find ways to use both effectively. It will be a beautiful thing to see.

LasVegasGuy
06-17-2008, 03:22 PM
Two-time Pro Bowler Willie Parker returns from a broken leg as the No. 1 running back, but it goes without saying the Steelers didn't change their draft plans when Mendenhall unexpectedly fell into their laps so he could be Parker's caddie.

Ya'all better get with the program. Trains a leavin...better not get caught without a ticket.

It's just a matter of time. I say Mendenhall is the starter by week 6.

Parker would have to lay an egg to lose the starter job to Mendy by week 6. Even if mendy is showing his elite ability...I don't see Tomlin benching his pro bowl, hard working, vet RB in favor of Mendy. I'm not saying Mendy isn't going to be a much better back but I don't think it will effect the starting line up his rookie season. just my 2 cent.


I'm still not sold on Tomlin and I would really be irate if he starts acting like Cowher and gives guys the benefit of the doubt because of past performance. Big deal Parker made the Pro Bowl but so did Troy P. and he didn't even play much last year so you can't put too much into the Pro Bowl. Great he is a hard worker but so are 52 other guys that are on the team. So he is a vet would you start him over a rookie Adrain Peterson last year? If Mendenhall takes off in training camp this year and Parker stumbles out of the gate then Tomlin better lose the accolades crap and insert the best guy who gives us the best chance to win.

Steely76
06-17-2008, 07:18 PM
This isn't a bad problem to have.


Stay tuned for more gems of wisdom.....

Oviedo
06-24-2008, 03:56 PM
Mendenhall should be able to get 400+ yards rushing. If he does that then I'll consider that a good start considering he we be teamed with a Pro Bowl RB.

A great start is if he can get 8-10 TDs between rushing and receiving

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
06-24-2008, 04:32 PM
Mendenhall should be able to get 400+ yards rushing. If he does that then I'll consider that a good start considering he we be teamed with a Pro Bowl RB.

A great start is if he can get 8-10 TDs between rushing and receiving

Mendenhall 115/520 8 TDs. More TDs than Parker. Parker's yardage might slipped to 1,200 but I expect his average to increase because he will be fresh. 8-10 TDS as a rookie for the Steelers WOULD be a great start...I agree!