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hawaiiansteel
01-01-2012, 02:33 PM
Mendenhall: 2011 a 'great' year

Sunday, January 01, 2012
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Blamed by many for the loss in Super Bowl XLV, called a "fumble machine" by teammate James Harrison, reviled by much of America for his sympathetic views about Osama bin Laden and considered an underachiever by a lot of people for failing to do more this season, Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall had this to say the other day about his 2011:

"It's been a great year, an incredible year."

Let me try to explain with Mendenhall's help. I know, it won't be easy.

But it's not the least bit difficult to imagine 2012 getting off to a great, incredible start for Mendenhall and, subsequently, the Steelers, beginning with the game today at Cleveland Stadium against the Browns. That, too, I will try to explain.

Mendenhall's 2011 started just fine, actually. He scored two touchdowns in a playoff win against the Baltimore Ravens and a third in the AFC championship game win against the New York Jets, all on short, powerful runs. But the play everyone remembers is his fumble on the first play of the fourth quarter in Super Bowl XLV. The Steelers had cut the Green Bay Packers' lead to 21-17 on his 8-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and were driving for the go-ahead score when he fumbled on a second-and-2 play from the Packers 33.

"I don't look at that play like everyone else does," Mendenhall said.

He looks at it as a great play by Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, who put his helmet on the ball and sent it flying.

"I was protecting the ball ... I never saw him," Mendenhall said.

The fumble was huge in the Steelers' 31-25 loss and led to the observation by Harrison in a July article in Men's Journal. Harrison later apologized and said his comments were taken out of context, although it's pretty hard to imagine how "fumble machine" could be misinterpreted. Regardless, Mendenhall said: "James and I are friends. It's no problem. It was never a problem."

Mendenhall's tweets in May after bin Laden's death were a big problem and prompted national outrage. He questioned how people could hate a man they never met and wondered how they could celebrate the death of another human being. He also speculated others -- not just bin Laden -- might have been responsible for the 9/11 disasters.

"I don't regret anything," Mendenhall said. "Anything that happens to you in life -- good or bad -- is a learning experience. I learned a lot."

In order, Mendenhall said he learned:

• The media is a powerful force in creating public opinion.

• Who his friends are.

"If you never go through tough situations, you aren't going to grow as a person," Mendenhall said. "I learned a lot about people. I respect their opinions. But nothing they say really bothers me. Nothing on the outside affects me."

That includes those who say Mendenhall hasn't carried his fair share of the load this season. His 116-yard performance on Christmas Eve in the 27-0 win against the St. Louis Rams was just his second 100-yard game of the season. He needs 110 yards today against the Browns to reach 1,000. That's quite a fall from last season when he rushed for 1,273 yards and from 2009 when he had 1,108.

Two things need to be pointed out. One, Mendenhall has 104 fewer carries -- 220 -- this season than he did in '10. He missed the game against the Tennessee Titans in October because of a hamstring injury, the only game he has missed the past three seasons. And two, he still is scoring touchdowns. He has nine this season after getting 13 in the regular season last year and seven in '09. Scoring touchdowns is the most important thing a running back does.

"It would be great to get 1,000 yards because that's the staple of a great season," Mendenhall said. "But if I end up with 990, it still will be a great season for me. I know I've done everything I can to help this team win. The improvement I've made ... I'm a better football player now than I've ever been."

Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said he sees it every time he turns on the game tapes. "He understands our blocking schemes better than he ever has." He mentioned Mendenhall's vision. "Some of his best runs are for 3 yards because he's so good at making the first guy miss at the point of attack." He talked about Mendenhall's speed, which he showed on a 52-yard run and a 35-yard catch-and-run against the Rams. "He has a gear that people don't realize."

Mendenhall is on a bit of a nice roll. Before the Rams game, he ran for 64 yards on 15 carries against the San Francisco 49ers' No.1-rated run defense. The game before that, he ran for 76 yards on 18 carries against the Browns on a night when the Steelers needed their run game because quarterback Ben Roethlisberger played the second half on his injured ankle.

"He's running hard and he's running fast," Arians said of Mendenhall.

The timing couldn't be better, for Mendenhall and for the Steelers. Even though he is signed through the 2012 season, he is playing for his next contract with the team. The Steelers like to extend the contracts of their top players before they get into their final season.

"I would think he'll be a high priority for us," Arians said. "He's got freakish skills and he's very young."

Mendenhall is 24.

Expect to see plenty of him today against the Browns' 30th-rated run defense, especially because Roethlisberger still is much less than full-go.

Expect to see plenty of Mendenhall in the postseason.

"We've tried to keep his workload down to keep him fresh," Arians said. "He's healthy and ready to go. He should be able to carry us a long way."

Not to mention set himself up for a truly great, incredible year.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/12001/12 ... z1iEGL9pE0 (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/12001/1200594-87-0.stm#ixzz1iEGL9pE0)

Steel Life
01-01-2012, 02:56 PM
Mendenhall: 2011 a 'great' year
Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said he sees it every time he turns on the game tapes. "He understands our blocking schemes better than he ever has." He mentioned Mendenhall's vision. "Some of his best runs are for 3 yards because he's so good at making the first guy miss at the point of attack."
Anyone else think that Bruce is missing the irony of what he said?

fordfixer
01-01-2012, 03:00 PM
Mendenhall: 2011 a 'great' year
Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said he sees it every time he turns on the game tapes. "He understands our blocking schemes better than he ever has." He mentioned Mendenhall's vision. "Some of his best runs are for 3 yards because he's so good at making the first guy miss at the point of attack."
Anyone else think that Bruce is missing the irony of what he said?
I'm not sure Bruce has any idea what he said

DukieBoy
01-01-2012, 03:04 PM
The Packers knew that play was coming based on their excellent scouting and coaching. They had that play diagnosed before the snap. Predictable play call, two poor blocking attempts at the point of attack, and a good play by the LB (hate to say his name and great play in the same phrase) had alot to do with that fumble. The bigger error was Kemo's stupid penalty deep in the RZ that set the stage for the pick 6.

I like Mendy. I wish he ran with more power to finish plays, and made cuts at speed rather than the stutter stop to change directions. I'd like to see more check-downs to him, as the broken field plays to his strenths.

He should be fresh and effective for today and for the playoffs. He's only 24. He has a positive future. Next stop ~ Dancing with the Stars.

Oviedo
01-01-2012, 03:41 PM
Improve the OL and Mendenhall is in the Pro Bowl. Few RBs in league gets hit in the backfield more than he does.

hawaiiansteel
01-01-2012, 08:03 PM
2012 is not off to such a great start for Mendy...


Rashard Mendenhall goes down with right knee injury

Posted by Michael David Smith on January 1, 2012

http://nbcprofootballtalk.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/mendenhallbrowns.jpg?w=250

The Pittsburgh Steelers are having a bad day in many ways, but the biggest is that they’ve lost running back Rashard Mendenhall to a right knee injury.

Mendenhall was tackled at the end of a carry in the first quarter at Cleveland and immediately grabbed his knee in obvious pain. He limped off the field and then to the locker room and will apparently not return.

Mendenhall was off to a good start, with 38 first-quarter yards, but he’s going to fall short of his third straight 1,000-yard year, having left with 928 yards so far this season.

The big question facing the Steelers is whether they’ll have Mendenhall in the playoffs, or whether they’ll have to rely on backup Isaac Redman and undrafted rookie John Clay.

It doesn’t appear that the Steelers will get a bye week for Mendenhall, Ben Roethlisberger and their other banged-up players to rest: Pittsburgh needed both a win and a Baltimore loss to get a bye, but in the third quarter the Steelers are tied 6-6 and the Ravens are winning 17-3.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/20 ... ee-injury/ (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/01/01/rashard-mendenhall-goes-down-with-right-knee-injury/)

focosteeler
01-01-2012, 08:38 PM
Improve the OL and Mendenhall is in the Pro Bowl. Few RBs in league gets hit in the backfield more than he does.
:Agree

fordfixer
01-01-2012, 09:18 PM
Just heard that Mendy is out for nxt weeks game at Denver

SteelCrazy
01-01-2012, 09:20 PM
Tomlin says Mendenhall could have torn ACL

The Steelers won their game on Sunday in Cleveland, but they lost their shot at the bye week that would have accompanied the AFC North title.

They also may have lost their starting running back for the bulk of the offseason, if not longer.

Coach Mike Tomlin told reporters after the game that running back Rashard Mendenhall could have a torn ACL, and that Mendenhall is not expected to play next weekend in Denver.

A source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that an MRI will be performed tomorrow. (As if that needed a source.)

Mendenhall would be the second big-name running back to suffer a torn ACL in consecutive weeks. Eight days ago, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson suffered the same injury.


http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/20 ... -torn-acl/ (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/01/01/tomlin-says-mendenhall-could-have-torn-acl/)

SteelBucks
01-01-2012, 09:21 PM
Just heard that Mendy is out for nxt weeks game at Denver
Yep, serious knee injury according to NBC. I give the guy a lot of grief but it hurts to lose him now.

DukieBoy
01-01-2012, 09:51 PM
Do we have another RB on the practice squad? Or do we bring back the Bus? Man, we are thin at RB due to injuries. We've lost Baron Batch, MMoore, JDwyer, and now Mendy.

SteelBucks
01-01-2012, 10:04 PM
Do we have another RB on the practice squad? Or do we bring back the Bus? Man, we are thin at RB due to injuries. We've lost Baron Batch, MMoore, JDwyer, and now Mendy.

Chad Spann is the only RB on the practice squad. It's the Redman and Clay show for the playoffs.

pfelix73
01-01-2012, 10:18 PM
Time to see what Ike can do. I know he had 2 fumbles today, but heck Mendenhall fumbles too. I would like to see Redman as our future RB.....

:tt1

pittpete
01-01-2012, 10:26 PM
Im sure BA will use D.Johnson as the 3rd RB due to his love affair with his hybridness.
Im not concerned and believe Redmann will carry this team past Denver.
Beyond that,with the ineptitude of this offense, dont look for anything past the 1st round :(

steeler_fan_in_t.o.
01-01-2012, 11:33 PM
Could mean that we draft a RB early if Mendy has a n ACL. Even if he recovers fully, he will not be the same for at least a year which takes us to next year's playoffs.

DukieBoy
01-02-2012, 12:34 AM
Could mean that we draft a RB early if Mendy has a n ACL. Even if he recovers fully, he will not be the same for at least a year which takes us to next year's playoffs.

I am looking forward to the return of Baron Batch, and Mendy of course. And maybe Dwyer, who showed some flashes this year.

pittpete
01-02-2012, 12:44 AM
Dont think any team should draft a RB with a high pick any more.
Especially not us :stirpot