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fordfixer
12-03-2011, 09:28 PM
Mendenhall's role diminishes as Steelers offense comes to pass
Saturday, December 03, 2011
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11337/1194309-66-0.stm

Among Rashard Mendenhall's latest beliefs is teams who run the ball can still win in the pass-oriented NFL.

Never mind that most of the top teams in the league still believe the path to the Super Bowl is through the air.

Crazy, huh?

Not to Mendenhall, the Steelers' top running back.

"I still think that's the formula to win," Mendenhall said. "I feel like the successful teams, when you look at the Broncos and what they're doing and the Texans and teams like that, teams that are able to run the ball, they have balance on offense and it does nothing but help them. Plus it gives your defense a break."

The Steelers (8-3) are like most of the NFL's top teams: They have leaned heavily on the pass in 2011, more than they did last year.

And the person most affected is Mendenhall, who has seen his workload -- not to mention his impact on the offense -- diminish.

Heading into Sunday's 1 p.m. game against the Cincinnati Bengals (7-4) at Heinz Field, Mendenhall is well below the pace of last season when he set career highs for yards (1,273), carries (324) and touchdowns (13).

In the 10 games he has played, he has a team-high 574 yards on 153 carries, an average of 3.8 yards per attempt. That is nowhere close to the impact he had on the offense at a similar point in 2010.

Mendenhall had 811 yards on 202 carries, an average of 4 yards per carry, after 10 games last season. As the offense has become more pass-oriented, Mendenhall is averaging just 51 yards rushing per game in the past five games.

"For us, you kind of have to do what's called," Mendenhall said. "Our focus has become the passing game. For us, it's just executing when we can."

Mendenhall's big plays are down, too. Last year, Mendenhall had seven of his 11 runs of 20 yards or longer in the first 10 games. This season, he has only two runs of 20 yards or longer after 10 games, including none in the past five.

"I think it's more necessarily our running game," said Mendenhall, who is coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in which he had a combined 566 carries. "When you work at it and concentrate on and focus on it, those plays come. When it's spotty like it has been, it's hard to create a play like that."

"The running backs probably would love to run the ball 60 times a game, but they understand that we have a lot of weapons," said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. "And I think the more that we can throw the ball it can open up the running game. And when we can run the ball it opens up the passing game. So, I think we've got a lot of unselfish guys in this room that just want to win football games."

The Steelers have won six of their past seven games, but there hasn't been a whole lot of help from the running game. Since rushing for a season-high 185 yards against the New England Patriots, they have averaged more than 4 yards rushing per carry in just one of their past five games.

In Kansas City, the Steelers had 108 yards on 28 carries and averaged 3.9 yards per attempt, despite runs of 16 yards by Mendenhall and 14 yards by Isaac Redman.

"The biggest disappointment for me was our rush per average; I didn't like our per-carry average," said offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. "It has to pick up for us to be where we want to be. We have to run the ball closer to 4 [yards] per carry. It's not the number of carries, it's the quality of the carries. And when we want to run it, we have to run it better, I think."

The Steelers, who have attempted 387 passes compared to 290 runs, aren't the only team to de-emphasize the running game.

Of the 14 teams with records of 7-4 or better, only three -- San Francisco 49ers, Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders -- have attempted more running plays than passing plays. Those totals, though, do not take into account sacks, which do not count as attempted passes.

Even the Bengals, who wanted to return to a more run-oriented attack with rookie quarterback Andy Dalton, have attempted 64 more passes (376) than runs (312).

Despite teams relying more on the pass, the total of rushing yards in the NFL (40,494) is up from last season (39,466) after 11 games -- an unexplainable oddity, given that only one of the 15 teams with losing records (Jacksonville) has run more than it has passed.

"The more you run, the more you wear the defense down," Mendenhall said. "The more you do it, the better chance you have of success."

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11337/11 ... z1fWc3aukb (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11337/1194309-66-0.stm#ixzz1fWc3aukb)

Chavezz
12-03-2011, 10:26 PM
This guy is becoming my whipping boy. With Gay playing well, he's moved out of the dog house.

If this clown would just take what it there for him, he'd be a top tier back. Instead the guy wants to dance and pussyfoot around looking for a hole that will never develop.

PICK UP THE 3-4-5 YARDS AND MOVE ON!!

You can't score on every play. STOP LOOKING TO!

If we have a 3rd and short, the defense has to play both the run and the pass. If we're in a 3rd and long, which we always seem to be, the D knows that we're passing (it doesn't help that we're always in an empty set).

TallyStiller
12-03-2011, 10:45 PM
This guy is becoming my whipping boy. With Gay playing well, he's moved out of the dog house.

If this clown would just take what it there for him, he'd be a top tier back. Instead the guy wants to dance and pussyfoot around looking for a hole that will never develop.

PICK UP THE 3-4-5 YARDS AND MOVE ON!!

You can't score on every play. STOP LOOKING TO!

If we have a 3rd and short, the defense has to play both the run and the pass. If we're in a 3rd and long, which we always seem to be, the D knows that we're passing (it doesn't help that we're always in an empty set).

:Agree

I don't think it's an accident that Mendy's YPC is terrible... yet every time they put Redman in to spell him, he seems to run the same plays, with the same blocking, and rips off a string of + yardage runs.

Mendenhall is less a part of the offense because we HAVE to give up on the running game if we're going to sustain drives and put points on the board.

Shoe
12-03-2011, 11:22 PM
Mendenhall is less a part of the offense because we HAVE to give up on the running game if we're going to sustain drives and put points on the board.

Well put.
If he took the 4 yard run more often, we'd have more 3rd & short(er) opportunities where he (the RB) might get the ball. Instead, he tends to bounce it outside, setting up 2nd & 9's, 3rd & longs...

It's a bit of the whole self-fulfilling prophecy sort of deal.

hawaiiansteel
12-04-2011, 01:45 PM
our running game is not very good, of course Mendy's role is going to diminish when you don't get good results.

grotonsteel
12-04-2011, 01:55 PM
Mendenhall is less a part of the offense because we HAVE to give up on the running game if we're going to sustain drives and put points on the board.

Well put.
If he took the 4 yard run more often, we'd have more 3rd & short(er) opportunities where he (the RB) might get the ball. Instead, he tends to bounce it outside, setting up 2nd & 9's, 3rd & longs...

It's a bit of the whole self-fulfilling prophecy sort of deal.


:Agree

Steel Life
12-04-2011, 02:06 PM
The running game isn't as potent because it's not a priority for for BA - he would rather dazzle you than smash you.

hawaiiansteel
12-04-2011, 02:52 PM
The running game isn't as potent because it's not a priority for for BA - he would rather dazzle you than smash you.


and as soon as we say that Mendy runs for two TDs early in the game... :tt2 :tt2

Snatch98
12-04-2011, 02:57 PM
And I really like Redman but he's not scoring on either of those TD's. Mendenhall is legit. He doesn't hit the holes as hard as any of us would like but I blame that on some of the play calling more than anything.

anger 82&95
12-04-2011, 03:50 PM
The running game isn't as potent because it's not a priority for for BA - he would rather dazzle you than smash you.
He’ll “dazzle” me if he finishes this game with a foot-on-neck philosophy. Please…no contrived, conservative and highly predictable bullshine during the second half!

feltdizz
12-04-2011, 04:40 PM
And I really like Redman but he's not scoring on either of those TD's. Mendenhall is legit. He doesn't hit the holes as hard as any of us would like but I blame that on some of the play calling more than anything.

The only plays Redman can't score on is long runs.

If Mend takes what's there we are twice as productive and 3rd and 8's become 3rd and 3.

Snatch98
12-04-2011, 05:55 PM
He doesn't make the jump cuts and doesn't have the burst. I agree the Mendenhall needs to take what he's given more often and I believe he did that today. Redman is certainly valuable but he's no Mendenhall and never will be which is WHY we need to keep both.

Shoe
12-04-2011, 06:10 PM
He doesn't make the jump cuts and doesn't have the burst. I agree the Mendenhall needs to take what he's given more often and I believe he did that today. Redman is certainly valuable but he's no Mendenhall and never will be which is WHY we need to keep both.

Sure, Red is no Mendenhall. But you can't overlook cost. If the price tag is the same, I have no choice but to agree. But if Mendenhall costs 5x more than Red... there is no way I pay that.

SanAntonioSteelerFan
12-04-2011, 06:11 PM
IMHO, the decision on whether to keep Mendy will boil down to whether he will price himself out of our market. We can pay another RB a lot less money than he might ask, and they will probably be as effective (I didn't say as good ... just as effective, in our system).

Snatch98
12-04-2011, 06:22 PM
He doesn't make the jump cuts and doesn't have the burst. I agree the Mendenhall needs to take what he's given more often and I believe he did that today. Redman is certainly valuable but he's no Mendenhall and never will be which is WHY we need to keep both.

Sure, Red is no Mendenhall. But you can't overlook cost. If the price tag is the same, I have no choice but to agree. But if Mendenhall costs 5x more than Red... there is no way I pay that.

I honestly don't think he's going to command that kind of pay day. Redman cannot be our full time HB in my opinion. He's a complement back, not a work horse. Mendenhall isn't going to ask for crazy money.

feltdizz
12-04-2011, 06:38 PM
Mend isn't worth much IMO. When do we need a workhorse? This isn't the 90's and its not like Mend is busting off 80 yard runs or dragging guys 5 yards.

Everyone talks about Mend like he is living up to his college hype. Whens the last time he jump cut and ripped on a 30 yarder? He still ended up with 16 for 60.

It still takes 30 carries for Mend to hit 100 while other RB's with less talent and more discipline are getting better production.

With our OL and pass first philosophy we don't need Mend. Teams are putting in no name undrafted and late rounders and getting good numbers.

Steel Life
12-04-2011, 07:17 PM
Mendy is a threat to take it the distance, which is what he probably would've done on Redman's long run. But Redman runs hard & hungry & what he does Mendy can't do either. They are complementary & both would be better served by a better line.

feltdizz
12-04-2011, 07:43 PM
Mendy is a threat to take it the distance, which is what he probably would've done on Redman's long run. But Redman runs hard & hungry & what he does Mendy can't do either. They are complementary & both would be better served by a better line.

The "mend can take it the distance is a myth. How many times has Mend taken it to the house since we drafted him? Sure he would outrun defenders if he had the run Redman had but if it was Mendenhall he wouldn't have made it out the backfield on that play. The truth is Redman is better at getting consistent hard yards that are more common vs the threat that hasn't popped off a long run in a long time.

I know Mend has more speed and more moves but he is like an And1 basketball player. Shake and bake, tons of talent but lacks the discipline to play within an offense.

I like Mendenhall and think he has loads of talent but he isn't maximizing it at all. He ran hard in the playoffs but its more dancing then hard running.

I think we could get better production with Redman, Dwyer, Batch and Moore while saving money.

Dee Dub
12-04-2011, 08:17 PM
As most of you know, from the Trib days, early on I was a huge Mendenhall fan. However, this new guy, Rashard Spindenfall, is really not all that. 16 carries for 60 yards (3.75 per carry). Seriously? And that is where he as been all year (3.8 yards per carry). Yet Redman gets 51 yards on 9 carries. And he is at 4.24 for the year. And the way these two hit the hole are like night and day.

I am very disappointed in what our former number 1 has become.

Steel Life
12-04-2011, 08:52 PM
The myth I think you're referring to is that our line are great drive blockers. I'll say it again...with a better line both are better & Mendy could be elite. Until then we'll keep throwing things at the TV, chewing our fingernails down to nubs & talking about the "good old days" when the Steelers could run the ball with authority.

feltdizz
12-04-2011, 09:44 PM
The line isn't going to get any better anytime soon so forget about an elite running game.

Redman gets more quality runs behind this OL. Why waste money on a RB like Mend if you need much better OL talent that we aren't getting anytime soon? Its a passing league anyways.

We can't impose our will, Mend isn't punishing anyone and we don't rely on him to win games.

Snatch98
12-05-2011, 03:09 AM
Um why would we rely on Mendenhall to win us football games? We have a guy under center making 100 million for that job.

feltdizz
12-05-2011, 10:08 AM
Um why would we rely on Mendenhall to win us football games? We have a guy under center making 100 million for that job.

exactly... so if he isn't taking a pay cut he needs to go. Some on here are saying he can carry the load but what load are we talking about? We don't need a franchise RB to win in today's NFL and he is too expensive for the return we are getting.

Shawn
12-05-2011, 03:54 PM
Is anyone considering that our running game isn't very good because our OL isn't very good?

Shawn
12-05-2011, 03:55 PM
The line isn't going to get any better anytime soon so forget about an elite running game.

Redman gets more quality runs behind this OL. Why waste money on a RB like Mend if you need much better OL talent that we aren't getting anytime soon? Its a passing league anyways.

We can't impose our will, Mend isn't punishing anyone and we don't rely on him to win games.

Our OL could be pretty darn good with one decent draft and a healthy Colon.

Dee Dub
12-05-2011, 04:17 PM
Is anyone considering that our running game isn't very good because our OL isn't very good?

It hasnt seem to hinder Redman, Moore, and Dwyer when they have run the ball.

feltdizz
12-05-2011, 04:25 PM
Is anyone considering that our running game isn't very good because our OL isn't very good?

It's not the OL it's the RB... the chances of the OL getting much better for Mend to flourish is slim to none. It's not even worth it given the way the league is set up now for passing.

Redman didn't have a problem getting 51 on 8 carries. Look at the Tennessee game as well. Redman didn't have big stats but the chains were moving because we were getting a hard 4.

Oviedo
12-05-2011, 04:32 PM
I'll take Mendenhall every day of the week and twice on Sundays over any other RB we have on the roster. His big play potential is unmatched.

Got to disagree with those who don't think the issue is the OL. It is the issue.

Oviedo
12-05-2011, 04:34 PM
Um why would we rely on Mendenhall to win us football games? We have a guy under center making 100 million for that job.


:Agree :Clap :Clap :Clap

This is not the 1970's. Passing teams win Super Bowls not running teams. It will be that way for years to come.

phillyesq
12-05-2011, 05:17 PM
Um why would we rely on Mendenhall to win us football games? We have a guy under center making 100 million for that job.

exactly... so if he isn't taking a pay cut he needs to go. Some on here are saying he can carry the load but what load are we talking about? We don't need a franchise RB to win in today's NFL and he is too expensive for the return we are getting.

He isn't making a ton of money. His base salary is in the mid 600k range this year and will be about 700k next year (cap hit of $2 million). You aren't going to replace Mendenhall with a cheaper option who will do a better job next year.

The Steelers should let Mendenhall play out his rookie contract and take a hike, but there is no urgency to get rid of him prior to 2012.

Shawn
12-05-2011, 05:25 PM
I'll take Mendenhall every day of the week and twice on Sundays over any other RB we have on the roster. His big play potential is unmatched.

Got to disagree with those who don't think the issue is the OL. It is the issue.

Mendenhall is uber talented and a complete back. But, he does need some holes. Of course a battering ram like Redman is going to out perform him without an OL. And to compare Mendenhall to guys with less than 20 total attempts this year is just funny to me.

Sugar
12-05-2011, 05:44 PM
Steelers runners get message and deliver
Mendenhall, Redman run hard over Bengals
Monday, December 05, 2011
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11339/11 ... z1fhOwWm3O (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11339/1194642-87-0.stm?utm_source=bleacherreport.com&utm_medium=referral#ixzz1fhOwWm3O)

Statistically, this wasn't the Steelers' best game running the football. They rushed for 185 yards against Jacksonville and 174 yards against Tennessee, both wins. But Mendenhall and Redman ran hard. Mendenhall had 60 yards on 16 carries and Redman 51 on eight, accounting for the biggest chunks of the team's 136 rushing yards.

What was impressive was the way the Steelers ran the ball against a Bengals defense that was ranked fifth in the NFL against the rush. There was a feeling they were not going to be stopped.

After punting on their first two possessions, the Steelers moved to the Bengals 15. Redman carried three consecutive times for 12 yards before Mendenhall scored on a 3-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead.

On the Steelers' next possession, Mendenhall got the call on first down from the Cincinnati 20 and ripped off a 15-yard gain. A play later, he scored on a 5-yard touchdown run, making a terrific cutback. It stretched the lead to 14-0 and was Mendenhall's fourth touchdown in two games against the Bengals, his eighth of the season and the 28th regular-season rushing touchdown of his career, which moved him into fifth place on the franchise's all-time list.

That brings to mind something former Steelers great Jerome Bettis always said:

"They pay me to score touchdowns."


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About the AuthorRon
CookEmail AuthorRon Cook joined the Post-Gazette in January 1989 and has been writing sports columns since January 1990.He worked for the Pittsburgh Press from 1983 to 1988, covering the Steelers, doing special projects and as an Olympics writer. He also worked at the Beaver County (Pa.) Times from 1978 to 1983.A winner of several local, state and national writing awards, he is a 1978 graduate of Northwestern University. He has been a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America for more than 25 years.More »Ron CookSteelers runners get message and deliver
Sunseri, Pitt a bad match
Cook: Home is a winning formula for the Steelers
Penn State deserves bowl bid, mediocre Pitt doesn't
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Ron Cook
Steelers runners get message and deliver
Mendenhall, Redman run hard over Bengals
Monday, December 05, 2011
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Peter Diana/Post-GazetteRashard Mendenhall high steps his way into the end zone against the Bengals Sunday at Heinz Field.

View all related imagesPublicly, Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall said last week that it's difficult to get the team's much-maligned running game going when the offensive coordinator calls so many pass plays.

Privately, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians had a simple message for Mendenhall and backup Ike Redman.

" 'You want to run the ball more, run it better,' " Arians recalled telling the two.

So Mendenhall did in the 35-7 win Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field.

Redman, as well.

"That was a lot better," Arians said. "I saw backs breaking tackles. I saw a much better surge ...

"It's so much easier to call run plays when they're gaining 4 yards instead of 2 1/2 or 3 yards. It's nice to be in second-and-6 situations. That's a nice down for us. We can do a lot of different things."

Statistically, this wasn't the Steelers' best game running the football. They rushed for 185 yards against Jacksonville and 174 yards against Tennessee, both wins. But Mendenhall and Redman ran hard. Mendenhall had 60 yards on 16 carries and Redman 51 on eight, accounting for the biggest chunks of the team's 136 rushing yards.

What was impressive was the way the Steelers ran the ball against a Bengals defense that was ranked fifth in the NFL against the rush. There was a feeling they were not going to be stopped.

After punting on their first two possessions, the Steelers moved to the Bengals 15. Redman carried three consecutive times for 12 yards before Mendenhall scored on a 3-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead.

On the Steelers' next possession, Mendenhall got the call on first down from the Cincinnati 20 and ripped off a 15-yard gain. A play later, he scored on a 5-yard touchdown run, making a terrific cutback. It stretched the lead to 14-0 and was Mendenhall's fourth touchdown in two games against the Bengals, his eighth of the season and the 28th regular-season rushing touchdown of his career, which moved him into fifth place on the franchise's all-time list.

That brings to mind something former Steelers great Jerome Bettis always said:

"They pay me to score touchdowns."

Mendenhall is very good at it. Counting postseason games, he has scored 16 touchdowns in his past 17 games.

The run game figured in the Steelers' third touchdown. On first-and-10 from the Bengals 12, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger faked a handoff to Redman, rolled to his right and found wide receiver Mike Wallace wide open for a 12-yard touchdown. "That was nice," Arians said. "You have to be able to run the ball for the play-action stuff to work."

The Steelers seemed determined to run the ball in for one final touchdown late in the third quarter. Mendenhall gained 5 yards on first-and-goal from the Cincinnati 9, but the play was nullified by a holding penalty against guard Trai Essex. It didn't matter. Roethlisberger threw a quick pass to Wallace on the right sideline and Wallace turned it into a 19-yard touchdown with a brilliant run after the catch. That made it four touchdowns in four trips inside the red zone.

"That was another point of emphasis last week," Arians said. "We wanted to run the ball better, but we really wanted to run it better down there."

The result was the Steelers' third blowout win of the season, one they needed to keep pace with the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North Division. Roethlisberger, who had a solid day with the two touchdown passes to Wallace, a 117.3 passer rating and the 2,026th completion of his career, putting him at the top of the franchise's all-time list ahead of Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw, was thrilled with the way the team got it done with the run game.

"That is something I know that our offensive linemen take pride in and our running backs, as well," Roethlisberger said. "It was awesome to see it really get going. We didn't need a whole lot from the passing game."

Roethlisberger is right about the big linemen loving the way this game went. Check out guard Doug Legursky's take:

"You can't ask for a better day as an offensive lineman. Every one of us wants to run the ball. Me? I think I'm a better run blocker than pass blocker. I'd love to run it every play."

That won't happen, of course.

Not with the great Roethlisberger at quarterback.

But it probably wouldn't hurt the linemen -- not to mention Mendenhall and Redman -- to keep Arians' words in mind as they prepare for the Thursday night game against the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field.

"You want to run the ball more, run it better."

Sunday was a nice start.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11339/11 ... z1fhP4J8bV (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11339/1194642-87-0.stm?utm_source=bleacherreport.com&utm_medium=referral#ixzz1fhP4J8bV)

NorthCoast
12-05-2011, 11:06 PM
The idea that Mendenhall is the more complete RB means nothing if he is unable to make the first tackler miss. This has been his biggest problem in over a season. It has led to plenty of no gain runs and a lot of indecision on his part.
So which is better, the all or nothing home run hitter, or the guy that consistently gets on base? I guess it depends on how often those home runs happen, which for Mendenhall have been few and far between. For the kind of OL we have today, we need Redman.

SanAntonioSteelerFan
12-05-2011, 11:35 PM
The idea that Mendenhall is the more complete RB means nothing if he is unable to make the first tackler miss. This has been his biggest problem in over a season. It has led to plenty of no gain runs and a lot of indecision on his part.
So which is better, the all or nothing home run hitter, or the guy that consistently gets on base? I guess it depends on how often those home runs happen, which for Mendenhall have been few and far between. For the kind of OL we have today, we need Redman.

3-4 weeks ago, I agreed 110%, 2-3 weeks ago 100%, now ... I think I agree - but Mendy's gradually improving performance lately makes me glad we don't have to decide today whether to let him walk or not.

I wonder how he does in practice ... they really don't hit hard there, right? ... surely the coaches can tell these things, right?

hawaiiansteel
12-06-2011, 12:58 AM
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 04, 2011

Post-Cincinnati thoughts part II


It's funny how a game is looked at as total domination and the Steelers had just 295 yards of offense, their third-lowest total of the season.

Then again, many of the starters were pulled midway through the fourth quarter.

The most impressive thing about this victory for the Steelers was that their running game was highly effective. Pittsburgh picked up 136 yards on the ground of 33 carries against a good Cincinnati front seven.

That set up a lot of the other things the Steelers did offensively.

And Pittsburgh's domination up front was never more apparent than on its final scoring drive in the third quarter when Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman combined for five carries for 48 yards during a 93-yard drive.

If the Steelers can keep that up, they are going to be tough to beat in January.

© The Steelers have been looking for ways to get talented rookie corner Cortez Allen into their dime package and may have found it.

They brought safety Ryan Clark off the field at times in the dime in favor or Allen, giving them four corners and Troy Polamalu on the field at the same time.

That's a lot of coverage.

© It was nice to see Hines Ward get his 12,000 yards in front of the home crowd, which gave him a nice ovation for the feat.

It also didn't seem like the Steelers forced the issue, just allowing it to happen.

© The Steelers have now won seven of their past eight games and beaten Cincinnati (twice) and New England during that stretch.

That doesn't look to bad on the résumé.

The win over Kansas City wasn't all that inspiring, but there was plenty to be optimistic about following the dismantling of the Bengals.

© LaMarr Woodley told me after the game that he could wind up being a part-time player for a period of time until he gets his wind back.

That's the trouble with hamstring injuries. Unlike James Harrison, who was out with an eye injury and therefore able to keep his cardio up, Woodley's exercises have been limited to stretching and such to build his hamstring strength.

He said his hamstring felt "tired" Sunday, so the Steelers shut him down.

Having Jason Worilds prove that he can be competitive out there helps the situation.

© Steelers special teams coach Al Everest was taken aback when asked if he thought Curtis Brown had a block on in the back on Antonio Brown's 60-yard punt return touchdown at the end of the first half.

"You could call three of those on any play," said Everest. "We've had them go against us."

But not on this occasion.

In the grand scheme of things, it wouldn't have mattered. It's likely that with two timeouts, the Steelers would have gotten the ball at their own 30 and at least gotten into field goal range. But even if they didn't, this game was never in question.

posted by Dale Lolley

http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/sidelines/

Steel Life
12-06-2011, 01:47 AM
The idea that Mendenhall is the more complete RB means nothing if he is unable to make the first tackler miss. This has been his biggest problem in over a season. It has led to plenty of no gain runs and a lot of indecision on his part.
So which is better, the all or nothing home run hitter, or the guy that consistently gets on base? I guess it depends on how often those home runs happen, which for Mendenhall have been few and far between. For the kind of OL we have today, we need Redman.
And how many times have the RBs found a defensive player in their face upon taking the handoff? With this line sometimes just getting back to the LOS is a great effort. And since you bring up how long Mendy has been running this way, I'm sure it's not coincidence that it about the same length of time that an already poor run-blocking line started dealing with injury after injury & lack of cohesion. Look, this is not a "chicken or the egg" argument, in football the discussion begins & ends with line-play...and when you add that Mendy really is the type of RB that needs a FB - in an offense where FBs are shunned - then it's easy to see why his success is sporadic.

focosteeler
12-06-2011, 05:11 AM
The idea that Mendenhall is the more complete RB means nothing if he is unable to make the first tackler miss. This has been his biggest problem in over a season. It has led to plenty of no gain runs and a lot of indecision on his part.
So which is better, the all or nothing home run hitter, or the guy that consistently gets on base? I guess it depends on how often those home runs happen, which for Mendenhall have been few and far between. For the kind of OL we have today, we need Redman.

3-4 weeks ago, I agreed 110%, 2-3 weeks ago 100%, now ... I think I agree - but Mendy's gradually improving performance lately makes me glad we don't have to decide today whether to let him walk or not.

I wonder how he does in practice ... they really don't hit hard there, right? ... surely the coaches can tell these things, right?

If we can continue to win with Mendy not having 100+ yards every game that is fine with me. Might make him cheaper to resign if we try this offseason. That is if he wants to come back to a team that wont give him a fullback or let him take 2 steps out of his stance without getting hit

Steelerphile
12-06-2011, 06:23 AM
I don't think Mendenhall's mostly underwhelming season can be solely attributed to the OL. He is responsible also. He doesn't have the best of instincts when it comes to seeing the right hole to run through and hitting it fast and hard. Mwelde Moore is better at seeing the best running lanes and being quick to them, although he doesn't have the ability of Mendenhall.

Mendenhall tends to want to swing outside because in his peripheral vision he sees a lot of space out there, even though the play is designed for interior running. However by the time he shifts himself and tries to turn the corner, the defense has readjusted and covered that option.

If he can break through the line in the interior, that is the quickest way to gain yardage and I thought he did that better against Cincinnati. He is often accused of being Spindenhall but I think he has done that a lot less, last year and this year. I don't personally have a problem with a spin move because I think it can be a very effective way to free yourself from a defender and find a clear space. In my opinion Redman spins more than Mendenhall does, but the fans never dog him for spinning. Since it is effective I don't think they should.

I believe the coaches have tried to wean Mendehall away from doing as much spinning as he did two years. He still may occasionally throw one in but he does not have that much of a reliance on that. But the next mission for the coaching staff will be to get him to be more instinctive and better inside runner rather than thinking swing outside as much.

feltdizz
12-06-2011, 10:51 AM
I don't think anyone is saying Redman or Moore have more talent or upside than Mend. The OL argument was also used for Ben when we were talking about holding the ball, sacks etc.

The OL isn't going to turn into run graders and we aren't getting a traditional FB. Those excuses don't hold water. Mend has to produce behind the OL and TE/FB we have. Ben has to get rid of the ball faster with the OL we have and the WR's have to turn faster due to the OL we have.

We aren't going to draft for run purposes IMO or cater to Mends style of running with a 100 mill QB and fast WR's. Mend needs to take what is there and make a guy miss on the second level. He broke a nice run of for 10 yards, didn't switch the ball to the outside hand and pretty much made no effort to shake the DB. If he is sweetness he needs to show that he can make a guy miss or stiff arm him and take it to the house.

I know he has talent but I'm not seeing the homerun ability people speak of. Redman gets less touches but he makes sure he makes the most of those touches.