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hawaiiansteel
07-17-2012, 03:03 AM
Rainey Could Be Contributing X-Factor For Steelers As Rookie

Jul 14th, 2012 by DomSteelers

http://cdn.fansided.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/58/files/2012/07/6226976-219x300.jpg?f55eaa

While 1st and 2nd Round Picks David DeCastro and Mike Adams have probably garnered the most headlines of the Steelers’ first year players, there is one other Rookie on the roster which might also contribute a fair amount to Pittsburgh’s success in 2012: Running Back/Return Man Chris Rainey. And it is Rainey’s unique skill set combined with Pittsburgh’s needs in specific areas which should lead to some opportunities for the former Florida Gator to make an impact sooner rather than later.

Rainey’s Importance on Offense

Before I discuss Rainey’s likely role within the Offense, let me state that I believe that the bruising Isaac Redman will assume a bulk of the load when it comes to the running game in 2012 and possibly beyond. The only Running Back with any significant experience, Redman will get every chance imaginable to prove himself with Rashard Mendenhall on the shelf for the first half of the season. Redman’s projected starting role aside, I still believe that there will be plenty of chances for Rainey to contribute to the Offensive attack this season.

While Rainey (5’9″ 175 lbs.) might not possess the frame to take a pounding like a Redman or a Jonathan Dwyer over 20 times per game, a weapon such as him can bring some special things to the table for Todd Haley and Co.. Rainey’s shiftiness, agility, decent hands, and 4.3 speed to burn makes Rainey a perfect weapon for Big Ben to have at his disposal on 3rd Downs and between the 40’s. And to me, the Steelers could find some serious use for Chris either lined up next to Ben Roethlisberger in the Shotgun, or used in a slotback role if Pittsburgh spreads the field with four or more Receivers.

Screen and Draw Game

In the event DeCastro is indeed “as good as advertised” and new Left Guard Willie Colon can somehow manage to stay on the field injury-free, Pittsburgh will have two athletic Guards at their disposal and excellent tools to succeed in the screen game. Putting the diminutive, yet cat-quick Rainey in space behind those two and the other Linemen with full heads of steam could really spell trouble for Pittsburgh’s opponents who might be focused more on the Steelers two Pro Bowl Wide Receivers (Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace), their two solid slot guys (Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery), or even their Pro Bowl Tight End (Heath Miller) if he is in the game. Plus, with Nickel or Dime personnel likely being employed by the Defense, Rainey would have space to create and make things happen when he gets to the second level.

The Steelers also might want to use Rainey on some draw plays if the Defense is a tad overaggressive on 3rd and 3-6 situations from their Shotgun formations. If the opposition is getting to quick up the field, a delay, or delay draw with Rainey might be just what the Offense needs to not only convert the 1st Down, but possibly hit a big play as well. Rainey was a solid option on the ground in Shotgun for the Gators over his career and gained 2,464 Yards Rushing, including 861 as a Senior. In the event that Rainey gets past that first wave of Defenders it could be trouble once he makes a cut up the field and hits top speed.

Slot Receiving and Slot Run Game

Rainey in empty 5-Wide sets as a slotback could also wreak some havoc if he is given the ball in space on short and quick hitting routes. There are few Corners and Safeties which can match Rainey speed-wise, and zero Linebackers which can do the same. Slants, hooks, and even a “Bruce Arians Bubble Screen Special” or two would give the Rookie speedster (69 Catches, 795 Yards, and 6 TD’s in college) a chance to use his skill-set in the most effective manner possible.

In addition to his work in the passing game, Rainey also could contribute a small amount to the running game if he finds himself lined up in the slot. It could be beneficial to use Rainey on some end-arounds or jet-sweeps, plays which would be similar to what he ran at Florida when he lined up on the Offensive side of the ball.

Getting the Defense to over-pursue or at least making them aware on some fakes of Rainey’s ability to run these plays could be something the Offense might want to keep in mind. Ultimately, putting Rainey in the game on Offense would always be another thing the Defense has to account for when he is in the game, and matchup issues galore could be had by the skill-position players the Steelers Offense.

Rainey’s Importance in the Return Game

While Antonio Brown might want to continue his punt return duties this season, there is about a “snowball’s chance” in hell of that happening. At this point, Brown is too important to this Offense’s success to be relegated to putting himself in harm’s way.

And in the event that Mike Wallace ends up sitting/underperforming for extended periods, Brown will have to assume the role of Roethlisberger’s #1 pass-catching target. Worrying aside, Brown’s current status should not harm the Steelers, because Rainey should be in line to at least assume the bulk if not all of punt return (and possibly kickoff return) duties this season. Rainey’s quickness and experience at Florida in the return game (689 Career Punt and Kick Return Yards) should come into play in this specific area. Any time a punt return can be set up for Rainey, and space can inevitably be created for him to make guys miss, good things should hopefully happen, and the Steelers will be able to take advantage of some nice field position if everything works out fine.

Final Thoughts

For those of you which did not read it, I actually mocked Rainey to Pittsburgh in the Final Mock Draft I constructed a few months back. I even made a post before the mock on why Rainey might be a candidate the Steelers would consider taking him. In both instances I described Rainey’s unique skill-set and why it would be of such value to a team like Pittsburgh which could use help on 3rd Downs and in the return game.

While Rainey will likely get the first crack at winning the 3rd Down Back and Punt Return jobs, his role is not quite set in stone. Baron Batch will be hungry to earn a roster spot and playing time at Running Back as well, and should push Rainey to get work on 3rd Downs and in Shotgun formations. As for the return duties, Undrafted Rookie Marquis Maze did a fine job at Alabama over the course of his career, and will be competing for reps with Rainey there as well.

My hope though is that Rainey can add his skill-set to this already high-powered and talented Offense, and can do so as early as this season. I personally would like to see Rainey possibly get somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 Offensive touches per game, get some work on 3rd Downs and in Shotgun formations when the field is spread, do a bit of work on the kickoff and punt coverage units, and also get a couple of chances to return kicks. But hey, we will just have to wait and see how the depth chart and the Offense sorts itself out over the next month or so and whether or not the team decides to use Rainey and how.

http://nicepickcowher.com/2012/07/14/rainey-could-be-contributing-x-factor-for-steelers-as-rookie/

Oviedo
07-17-2012, 07:56 AM
IMO Batch is a better option in the shotgun. He may not be as fast as Rainey but he has the bulk to handle the blitz pick up and he is fast enough and elusive enough to be a solid option on third down.

Let Rainey focus on returns and slot receiver options.

Shawn
07-17-2012, 08:58 AM
I believe Rainey is going to be special. The first time I seen him play, I said to myself I want to see that guy in the BnG. Can you imagine a 5 wide set of Wallace, Brown, Sanders, Cotchery, and Rainey? I would argue that would be the best 5 in the NFL.

As for your point O about third down, I can see your point. But, I suspect you will see both guys get their shot at 3rd down. If Rainey can prove to be able to at least slow down the rush, he clearly has more ability to do damage on screens and such.

Oviedo
07-17-2012, 09:04 AM
I believe Rainey is going to be special. The first time I seen him play, I said to myself I want to see that guy in the BnG. Can you imagine a 5 wide set of Wallace, Brown, Sanders, Cotchery, and Rainey? I would argue that would be the best 5 in the NFL.

As for your point O about third down, I can see your point. But, I suspect you will see both guys get their shot at 3rd down. If Rainey can prove to be able to at least slow down the rush, he clearly has more ability to do damage on screens and such.

I think there is a role for both Batch and Rainey. I would like to see Rainey in the 5-wide you describe. I have said all along let's characterize him as a WR/KR and not as a RB/KR. Doesn't mean you can't do neat things with him in the backfield but his value will be playing in space not the backfield.

Shawn
07-17-2012, 09:18 AM
I don't care what we call him...we can classify him as a waterboy (cue Ruthless and a clever movie remark) for all I care as long as we get the ball in his hands.

If we don't get the ball in his hands 10 times a game then I will be surprised. I suspect he will become a Haley pet in short order.

flippy
07-17-2012, 09:53 AM
Chris Rainey could do a lot. I'd like to see if he could be our Wes Welker with electrifying speed.

RuthlessBurgher
07-17-2012, 10:34 AM
I don't care what we call him...we can classify him as a waterboy (cue Ruthless and a clever movie remark) for all I care as long as we get the ball in his hands.

If we don't get the ball in his hands 10 times a game then I will be surprised. I suspect he will become a Haley pet in short order.

Mama Boucher: Clever movie remarks is the DEVIL!!!

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-PEnbQVr9GzQ/T6PUTsGDVNI/AAAAAAAABCo/qD37p4MQzUA/s1600/waterboy3.jpg

Shawn
07-17-2012, 11:00 AM
:p

I knew I could count on ya.

Shoe
07-17-2012, 03:23 PM
Let Rainey focus on returns and slot receiver options.

I'm with you... He needs to earn his role in the offense, not be thrust into it. I think a guy like Rainey can very quickly gain a sense of entitlement that will prove problemeatic down the road. He should play a role like Dwight Stone did way back when, until he actually proves himself in that role.

Besides, he wasn't exactly Rocket Ismail or Reggie Bush at Florida in any case. He was good, but there was a reason that he was a FIFTH ROUND choice or whatever he was.

Shawn
07-17-2012, 03:28 PM
The reason is his size. It certainly wasn't ability.

As for issues down the road...there you may have a point. He does have a bit of that. There is a fine line between swag and arrogance...and some time earning PT might not be a bad idea. With that said, I think his talent will quickly warrant some PT. I just don't know how you can sit a guy that explosive.

RuthlessBurgher
07-17-2012, 03:42 PM
The reason is his size. It certainly wasn't ability.

And the text-threat to his former girlfriend...many teams may have written him off as just another thug-type, but we have access to Maurkice Pouncey, who lived with him for several years in high school. Pouncey's mother and stepfather are very good people, and they allowed Rainey into their home and vouched for him when our scouts were investigating him as a potential draft prospect.

Shawn
07-17-2012, 03:51 PM
I wasn't overly impressed with the text/threat thing. While obviously not something you want to see a prospect doing, I don't believe that makes him a bad guy. Love...lust makes men do stupid things.

But, I agree it didn't help him with his draft slot.

Iron Shiek
07-18-2012, 03:13 PM
I'm stoked about Rainey. I fully expect him to win that role from Batch. Speed kills...and I think the wild card for him is Haley. Arians would've gotten this dude hurt. At least Haley knows what to do with these little guys, he had McCluster rockin and rollin in Jamal Charles' absence last year.

RuthlessBurgher
07-18-2012, 04:04 PM
I'm stoked about Rainey. I fully expect him to win that role from Batch. Speed kills...and I think the wild card for him is Haley. Arians would've gotten this dude hurt. At least Haley knows what to do with these little guys, he had McCluster rockin and rollin in Jamal Charles' absence last year.

Batch and Rainey fill 2 different roles...Batch is more of a traditional 3rd down back while Rainey is more of a scatback. Remember, Batch weighs 30 lbs. more than Rainey...he's better equipped to protect Ben if a rusher comes free, while Rainey would be more dangerous with the ball in his hands in space.

Oviedo
07-18-2012, 04:21 PM
Batch and Rainey fill 2 different roles...Batch is more of a traditional 3rd down back while Rainey is more of a scatback. Remember, Batch weighs 30 lbs. more than Rainey...he's better equipped to protect Ben if a rusher comes free, while Rainey would be more dangerous with the ball in his hands in space.

Just call Rainey the #6 WR and KR and be done with it. Don't put him in the backfield.

jj28west
07-18-2012, 09:08 PM
I'm stoked about Rainey. I fully expect him to win that role from Batch. Speed kills...and I think the wild card for him is Haley. Arians would've gotten this dude hurt. At least Haley knows what to do with these little guys, he had McCluster rockin and rollin in Jamal Charles' absence last year.

Great point. Could not understand why Stefan Logan was not used in space in some package in a rich man's Wes Welker role. Crap, I have seen only one good screen play by the RB's since 2005!

hawaiiansteel
07-25-2012, 05:05 PM
Ask The Steelers: Chris Rainey

Posted Jul 23, 2012
Teresa Varley - Steelers.com

Rookie running back Chris Rainey

Brad Williams, Greenville, North Carolina: Rainey: How do you feel that your experience with the spread offense and your track background will affect your playing style as you develop with the Steelers?
Rainey: It will affect every aspect of my game, every play and every phase of the game. It’s definitely going to help.

William Maximilien, Miami, Florida: How do you feel you will fit in on a team like the Steelers who are infamous for tough hard hitting football, especially when it comes to the running back position?
Rainey: My style will fit with it. It’s basically the same as it was in the SEC, so it should be nothing all that different.

Joshua Sisler, Rock Hill, South Carolina: How much will playing in a conference like the SEC help you as you adjust to the NFL?
Rainey: The way I feel it was the NFL in our conference. They trained us in everything, media, football smarts, school and life. It was the same thing as here.

Kenneth Lewis, Lafayette, Louisiana: What do you believe is your greatest strength as a running back?
Rainey: Definitely vision and speed.

C.J. McMunn: How fast are your times on the track? How do you think you can translate that to the NFL?
Rainey: My track times aren’t that good, but the endurance helps a lot so I can be ready for the no-huddle and stuff like that.

Joy Burke, Erie, Pennsylvania; What is your first impression of Pittsburgh?
Rainey: As far as the team, it’s a great team, good program, great coaches and all of the Super Bowls. As far as the city, it’s a beautiful city. There are great fans. Everybody represents the Steelers every day.

Keith Patiag, Los Angeles, California: What is the first thing you will buy with your first paycheck?
Rainey: I am not going to buy anything. I am just saving all of my money.

Jeffrey Gregg, Iowa: Who was your favorite football player growing up?
Rainey: Emmitt Smith, Reggie Bush, Barry Sanders, Bo Jackson, Jim Brown and Walter Payton.

Dawn Edwards, San Diego, California: What is the best advice you ever received?
Rainey: Stay humble and it will come to you.

Henry Ellis, Rock Hill, South Carolina: What has Maurkice Pouncey told you to expect with the Steelers?
Rainey: Be who you are and play like you have been playing your whole life.

http://prod.www.steelers.clubs.nfl.com/news/article-1/Ask-The-Steelers-Chris-Rainey/4f0737db-17df-47c5-813b-66582f4a7487

hawaiiansteel
07-29-2012, 02:20 AM
Pittsburgh Steelers rookie RB Chris Rainey is the early buzz in training camp

Submitted by Syndicated sources on July 28, 2012

On Friday, the Pittsburgh Steelers finally opened their 2012 training camp to the fans, and all the buzz was about rookie running back Chris Rainey, who flashed confidence, speed and one of the brightest shirt and show combinations to hit Latrobe in some time.Rainey is a small 5-8, 180 pounds, but extremely versatile and explosive athlete that has the ability to make an impact on both offense and special teams. In fact, he may have the most natural explosion with the ball in his hands of any player in this draft. During his career at Florida, he split time between multiple positions and looks the part of a natural receiver and change-of-pace back in the NFL.

In fact, during the brief glimpses of the new offense, he looked quite at home as a receiver out of the backfield on the multiple screen passes and flairs that were put on display.

More importantly for teams, he was also a special teams dynamo at Florida school and SEC records with six blocked punts over his career on top of his return skills. This trend looks to continue with the Steelers as the young speedster talked about the importance of special teams performance during multiple interviews.

While he is talented, there are some red flags, as he has both medical (shoulder) and character concerns. That being said, he was a teammate with All Pro Center Maurkice Pouncey in high school and in college at Florida, which should help his transition to the NFL.

Not practicing on Friday were Mike Wallace (holdout), James Harrison, Casey Hampton, Jason Worilds, Damon Cromartie-Smith, Rashard Mendenhall and Max Starks (PUP), Heath Miller (ankle) and Alameda Ta’amu (foot). On Saturday, the Steelers will hold their first practice in full pads, which will change the days dynamic tremendously.

http://network.yardbarker.com/nfl/article_external/pittsburgh_steelers_rookie_rb_chris_rainey_is_the_ early_buzz_in_training_camp/11319991

Oviedo
07-29-2012, 08:38 AM
I saw where Tomlin pulled Rainey out of the back on backers drill. His logic was he knew Rainey would get killed if he couldn't cut block and he didn't want him cut blocking and of his team mates.

On the other hand I read where Batch did a decent job.

Can anyone confirm because I think it clearly shows they are not competing for the same spot? Like I said just call him a WR who can occasionally play in the backfield versus a RB who can occaisionally play WR.

steelfin
07-29-2012, 08:45 AM
Rainey is as good as on the team. The battle will be between Batch and Dwyer....I am hoping Batch wins that battle...Dwyer has done very little with his time in the league.

Oviedo
07-29-2012, 09:47 AM
Rainey is as good as on the team. The battle will be between Batch and Dwyer....I am hoping Batch wins that battle...Dwyer has done very little with his time in the league.

I would disagree that Dwyer has done noting but he has at least carried the football in a real NFL game where Batch watched games last year.

I still expect Dwyer to have abreakout season this year but I also want Batch on the team in the Mdwelde Moore role.

steelz09
07-29-2012, 10:52 AM
Tomlin apparently has plans for Rainey and that does NOT include him being on blitz pickup duties as a 3rd down back. When he was asked yesterday why Rainey didn't participate in backs on backers, he said “I’m not going to pull my boat with a Ferrari,”

Slapstick
07-29-2012, 11:59 AM
Tomlin apparently has plans for Rainey and that does NOT include him being on blitz pickup duties as a 3rd down back. When he was asked yesterday why Rainey didn't participate in backs on backers, he said “I’m not going to pull my boat with a Ferrari,”

In that drill, RBs aren't allowed to cut-block...that is why Rainey was held out...

RuthlessBurgher
07-29-2012, 01:00 PM
Rainey is as good as on the team. The battle will be between Batch and Dwyer....I am hoping Batch wins that battle...Dwyer has done very little with his time in the league.


If Mendenhall were healthy, yeah, but assuming Rashard starts the season on PUP as expected, then Redman, Dwyer, Batch, and Rainey should all make the team (Clay might battle for a spot, I expect him to be on the practice squad instead).

steelfin
07-29-2012, 01:22 PM
If Mendenhall were healthy, yeah, but assuming Rashard starts the season on PUP as expected, then Redman, Dwyer, Batch, and Rainey should all make the team (Clay might battle for a spot, I expect him to be on the practice squad instead).

How does moving DJ to fullback impact the final roster? Will DJ take a spot from the RB pool? Will we keep an extra RB? Will he take up a roster spot from the TE position?

hawaiiansteel
07-29-2012, 09:42 PM
Could Pittsburgh Steelers RB Chris Rainey help boost passing game without WR Mike Wallace

Submitted by Syndicated sources on July 29, 2012

Yesterday, we talked about how rookie running back Chris Rainey is turning heads during the opening days of Pittsburgh Steelers training camp. For some, this is understandable, due to his shiftiness and speed.After some thought and a long discussion with some fans, one has to wonder it his potential vertical speed actually assisted the decision to extend wide receiver Antonio Brown. While this is no slap at Mike Wallace, but the reality is that, he is an unpolished route runner with excellent speed on the football field.

In fact, he even stated something to that extent earlier in the offseason where he discussed his game being totally predicated on speed. With that in mind, is it far off to think that the diminutive, 5-8, 180 pound, Rainey could not be successful taking the top off the defense with his explosive skill set? During his career at Florida, he did split time between multiple positions and looks the part of a natural receiver with the ability to stretch the field. More importantly, he, like Brown (and unlike Wallace), is under contract.

Now, we at Steelers101 can only speculate that this is a potential reality for the offense. With Brown now under contract for the long haul, the Steelers appear to be prepared for the eventual loss of Wallace, and it is not a stretch to see how Rainey could help lessen the blow of his loss.

http://network.yardbarker.com/nfl/article_external/could_pittsburgh_steelers_rb_chris_rainey_help_boo st_passing_game_without_wr_mike_wallace/11324203

Oviedo
07-30-2012, 09:25 AM
How does moving DJ to fullback impact the final roster? Will DJ take a spot from the RB pool? Will we keep an extra RB? Will he take up a roster spot from the TE position?

How does DJ on the final roster effect it? It wastes a position! Hope that helps.

flippy
07-30-2012, 09:33 AM
Could Pittsburgh Steelers RB Chris Rainey help boost passing game without WR Mike Wallace

Submitted by Syndicated sources on July 29, 2012

Yesterday, we talked about how rookie running back Chris Rainey is turning heads during the opening days of Pittsburgh Steelers training camp. For some, this is understandable, due to his shiftiness and speed.After some thought and a long discussion with some fans, one has to wonder it his potential vertical speed actually assisted the decision to extend wide receiver Antonio Brown. While this is no slap at Mike Wallace, but the reality is that, he is an unpolished route runner with excellent speed on the football field.

In fact, he even stated something to that extent earlier in the offseason where he discussed his game being totally predicated on speed. With that in mind, is it far off to think that the diminutive, 5-8, 180 pound, Rainey could not be successful taking the top off the defense with his explosive skill set? During his career at Florida, he did split time between multiple positions and looks the part of a natural receiver with the ability to stretch the field. More importantly, he, like Brown (and unlike Wallace), is under contract.

Now, we at Steelers101 can only speculate that this is a potential reality for the offense. With Brown now under contract for the long haul, the Steelers appear to be prepared for the eventual loss of Wallace, and it is not a stretch to see how Rainey could help lessen the blow of his loss.

http://network.yardbarker.com/nfl/article_external/could_pittsburgh_steelers_rb_chris_rainey_help_boo st_passing_game_without_wr_mike_wallace/11324203

I don't see Rainey being Wallace. But hopefully he can be an athletic Wes Welker.

steelfin
07-30-2012, 09:35 AM
How does DJ on the final roster effect it? It wastes a position! Hope that helps.

LOL...fair enough...

I was trying to determine whether the FB will count towards the RB total or since he is converted TE and can supposedly play both positions, that he would count against the TEs...

With Mendenhall, Redman and Rainey as locks and DJ counting as a RB, how many other RBs will we keep???

flippy
07-30-2012, 09:38 AM
LOL...fair enough...

I was trying to determine whether the FB will count towards the RB total or since he is converted TE and can supposedly play both positions, that he would count against the TEs...

With Mendenhall, Redman and Rainey as locks and DJ counting as a RB, how many other RBs will we keep???

I would think Rainey could be counted as a #5/#6 WR and not necessarily take a RB spot.

Oviedo
07-30-2012, 10:40 AM
LOL...fair enough...

I was trying to determine whether the FB will count towards the RB total or since he is converted TE and can supposedly play both positions, that he would count against the TEs...

With Mendenhall, Redman and Rainey as locks and DJ counting as a RB, how many other RBs will we keep???

To seriously answer your question I would think that Johnson would be the third TE until Saunders comes back then it wil be decision time. May have to sacrifice the #6 WR to keep the RBs and TEs they want.

Oviedo
07-30-2012, 10:41 AM
I would think Rainey could be counted as a #5/#6 WR and not necessarily take a RB spot.

I agree. I have said that since we drafted him. Just carry him as the #5 or #6 WR and the numbers work out.

RuthlessBurgher
07-31-2012, 10:25 AM
Steelers running back Chris Rainey seeks own identity
By Ralph N. Paulk

Published: Tuesday, July 31, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Updated 10 hours ago

Whatever the diminutive Chris Rainey gives up in size, he makes up with immeasurable confidence.

The Steelers rookie running back sprinted onto the practice field at St. Vincent College on Friday, eager to prove he belongs in the NFL. He wanted to brush aside any doubts or lingering questions about him fitting into the Steelers’ redesigned offense.

“I’m prepared for everything,” Rainey said. “I’ve been going through the playbook every day.”

Mostly, the fifth-round draft pick from Florida wants to prove he’s his own man with a unique skill set. He isn’t New Orleans’ Darren Sproles or Minnesota’s Percy Harvin.

“I hear those stories about my size all the time,” he said. “People compare me to Percy (Harvin), but it doesn’t matter how much they compare me to other people.

“It’s all about speed. And that’s what separates me from the other guys. It’s just a slow brew right now, but it’ll come in time.”

However, at 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds, he can live with the Sproles comparison.

“Whatever you see in Darren Sproles, that’s what you’ll see in me,” said Rainey, who likens his style to the Saints’ playmaker. “But I’m still Chris Rainey.”

Of course, offensive coordinator Todd Haley and running backs coach Kirby Wilson are hoping the speedy, versatile Rainey can be as productive as his idol.

Isaac Redman, who likely will get the starting nod at running back for the injured Rashard Mendenhall for the regular-season opener in Denver, is confident Rainey can deliver.

“You can’t crown anybody with just jerseys and helmets on,” Redman said. “When the shoulder pads come on, we’ll see who has or doesn’t have it.”

Rainey has the look, at least. He covers the 40 in 4.4 seconds and possesses a plethora of open-field moves that could make him a big-play threat, particularly on special teams.

“I love special teams, and that’s where I really want to contribute,” said Rainey, who led the Gators with 31 receptions in 2011. “I know I have to play special teams just to get the ball.

“I want defensive players to say, ‘(Dang), this is a good running back.’ I want everyone to have confidence they can play me. I want to do everything well.”

Rainey likely will get a chance to prove himself during the preseason. He’ll be vying for time with Baron Batch, John Clay and Jonathan Dwyer.

“There’s always an opportunity for everybody and anybody,” Rainey added. “When you get that opportunity, you’ve got to take advantage of it. I’m ready to take advantage of every opportunity.”

Redman expects Haley will test Rainey in the slot and in screen situations. The running backs weren’t involved much in the passing game last season.

Rainey is keenly aware of this. The Steelers, though, would have to change their habits for Rainey to become an integral part of the passing game.

“There are multiple things he can do, and it helps that he has great hands,” said Redman, who is more impressed with Rainey’s knowledge of the playbook than his speed. “He can definitely stretch the field.”

Redman, though, cautions Rainey not to get too far ahead of himself during training camp.

“It’s all about getting young guys to understand this is a long process,” Redman said. “I remember when I came in. If I didn’t have guys like (former Steelers running back) Willie Parker to keep me squared away, I don’t know where I would be today. I want to take that knowledge and dish it out to him.”

For now, coach Mike Tomlin is interested in keeping Rainey healthy. So, he kept him out of Saturday’s blitz-protection drill.

http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/2288277-85/rainey-running-steelers-redman-chris-opportunity-advantage-sproles-darren-field?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+tribunereviews

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hawaiiansteel
08-04-2012, 03:58 PM
Chris Rainey adds explosive element to Steelers backfield

Aug 04, 2012
By Jim Corbett, USA TODAY

LATROBE, Pa. -- Friday Night Lights Pittsburgh Steelers-style was a chance for a Latrobe Memorial Stadium crowd of more than 9,000 black-and-gold clad fans to say goodbye to a foursome of former Steelers. Joey Porter, Willie Parker, Aaron Smith, and Marvel Smith were honored in a retirement ceremony before the two-hour night practice.

It was also a chance for rookie running back Chris Rainey, the electric fifth-round pick from the University of Florida to introduce himself as the fastest back the Steelers have had since Parker was turning on the jets, most famously with his 75-yard touchdown run in Super Bowl XL, the longest rushing play in Super Bowl history.

Every time Rainey touched the ball Friday night, he hit the hole hard and gained 5 or more yards a carry, one time breaking a 15-yard run as defenders struggled to find the 5-8, 178 scat back with 4.3 speed in the 40-yard dash.

http://i.usatoday.net/communitymanager/_photos/the-huddle/2012/08/03/Chris-Raineyx-inset-community.jpg

Rainey has been the Steelers' buzz guy since he began flashing during organized team activities, and he's carried it over to training camp.

"Chris brings a different dimension to our backfield we really haven't had in recent years,'' team President Art Rooney II said.

Offensive coordinator Todd Haley likes his versatile bunch of backs, and Rainey is the most versatile among them. He allows Haley to use him in the screen passing game and as a third-down change-of-pace to power backs Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer.

"Chris Rainey's exceptionally quick and exceptionally fast,'' general manager Kevin Colbert said. "How he'll fit into an NFL offense, we'll find out.''

Asked about a compliment from center Maurkice Pouncey, who said Rainey has some Darren Sproles to his all-around game, Rainey said, "It's a good compliment. But I'm still Chris Rainey. That's all I keep in my head.''

Coach Mike Tomlin is not one to gush about a player until the lights really come on in the preseason and regular season. He's impressed by Rainey but wants to see those flashes continue over time.

"Chris had some nice work tonight,'' Tomlin told USA TODAY Sports. "But it's still early in the process.''

Tomlin said Redman had a setback with a groin injury, which might mean more touches early in the preseason for Dwyer, Baron Batch and Rainey.

The other injury of note was left guard Willie Colon, who converted from right tackle only to suffer an undetermined ankle injury when another player appeared to roll up on his ankle when Colon got into a scuffle with defensive end Cameron Heyward defending an offensive linemate. The injury appeared minor, as Colon walked off the field under his own power with a slight limp.

Tomlin said the medical staff would monitor both players, who could be held out of Saturday afternoon's practice at St. Vincent's College.

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/thehuddle/post/2012/08/steelers-chris-rainey-backfield/1#.UB1h2M2uzO8

hawaiiansteel
08-11-2012, 06:13 PM
Steelers rookie RB Rainey ‘spectacular’

By Mark Kaboly
Published: Friday, August 10, 2012

http://triblive.com/csp/mediapool/sites/dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls?STREAMOID=d8rIy 2ImkKhgk6TbcTimMs$daE2N3K4ZzOUsqbU5sYtOv5DGLZ54JHN $nzsmXhuDWCsjLu883Ygn4B49Lvm9bPe2QeMKQdVeZmXF$9l$4 uCZ8QDXhaHEp3rvzXRJFdy0KqPHLoMevcTLo3h8xh70Y6N_U_C ryOsw6FTOdKL_jpQ-&CONTENTTYPE=image/jpeg

Steelers running back Chris Rainey scores on a 57-yard touchdown pass against the Eagles during their preseason game Aug. 9, 2012, in Philadelphia.

Rainey day

Steelers rookie running back
Chris Rainey’s statistics against the Eagles:

Rushing: 4 carries, 1 yard, 0 TDs

Receiving: 2 receptions, 65 yards, 1 TD

Returns: 3 returns, 20 yards, 0 TDs

PHILADELPHIA — Ben Roethlisberger is selective when it comes to saying anything overly positive about rookies for fear it might lead to an inflated ego.

Following Chris Rainey’s debut against Philadelphia, Roethlisberger will take his chances.

“I don’t like talking about him … but he’s pretty good,” Roethlisberger said.

Rainey transferred his training camp hype to the field with an explosive performance that included a third-quarter screen pass that he turned into a 57-yard touchdown.

“Man, he’s spectacular,” receiver Emmanuel Sanders said. “I mean, I saw him on the high school level, I saw him on the college level, and he looks like he going to be a pretty good NFL player. That screen he caught and took it to the house was the Chris Rainey of Florida.”

The Steelers used their fifth-round pick on Rainey with the hope he could provide the offense he did late in the third quarter against the Eagles.

Jerrod Johnson dumped off a pass to Rainey in the left flat, where Rainey made Xavier Brown miss at the line of scrimmage. Rainey picked up a block by John Malecki at the Eagles’ 40-yard line before juking Brandon Boykin at the 10 and diving into the end zone.

“I felt good,” Rainey said. “I am just doing my job and taking every opportunity that I can. I did everything right. I just wanted to get a touchdown.”

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was cautiously optimistic about Rainey’s first game.

“He did some good things,” Tomlin said. “He’s got some growth, some detail things, some assignment things … but obviously he provided a splash or two for us.”

Opportunities for Rainey to make “splash plays” are plenty.

New offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s “hybrid” running back is much more than a typical third-down back. Haley is looking to create favorable matchups with a versatile player who can outrun linebackers and safeties, and he believes he can get that with Rainey.

Rainey started 13 games at running back and six at slot receiver during his time at Florida.

“He’s going to be a great asset to the team, a scatback, and he’s going to put a lot of pressure on defenses,” Roethlisberger said. “He is explosive. He brings a lot to the table, and you never know what you are going to get. You just give him the ball, and you sit there and watch because he is explosive and fun.”

http://triblive.com/sports/2387442-85/rainey-chris-steelers-eagles-running-yard-philadelphia-roethlisberger-touchdown-explosive

http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/1286698/Rainey_medium.gif

flippy
08-11-2012, 06:23 PM
I get why Ben's talking him up. Rainey's a huge threat that can help slow down the pass rush as much as any OLineman.

Rainey got faster as the the talent on the field went down. He wasn't as speedy as I thought he was in college. Hopefully he'll get faster when he masters the mental side of the game.

But he's proving, he's better than most 2nd and 3rd stringers.

The other guy that looked like a quick study in his first performance was Spence. He seems like he's got great instincts and isn't overwhelmed yet by the pro talent.

feltdizz
08-11-2012, 07:25 PM
“I don’t like talking about him … but he’s pretty good,” Roethlisberger said.

anyone else confused by this line? Is it an inside joke?

hawaiiansteel
08-13-2012, 04:49 PM
Steelers: Chris Rainey a speedy goal-line back?

By Chris Adamski | CBSSports.com
August 12, 2012

Speedster running back Chris Rainey has shown the Steelers just about everything through 2 1/2 impressive weeks of his first NFL training camp.

But Rainey as a goal-line back? That was new.

The 5-9, 180-pound (and that's generous) rookie from Florida was getting the ball during the popular goal-line drills Sunday at practice.

To be fair, his participation in the drill was more out of necessity and a last-man-standing quality than anything else. Nagging injuries to Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer kept them out of practice, and fellow back John Clay left the workout with a hip/groin injury.

That left Baron Batch and Rainey, who used his blazing speed to score a touchdown during the Steelers preseason loss at Philadelphia Thursday. But that, like most of his touchdowns at the University of Florida, was in the open field. Lining up at the 1 1/2-yard line behind a two-tight end set was different.

"Obviously, he doesn't fit the cookie-cutter of a man who runs in that situation, but he did a nice job today," coach Mike Tomlin said.

"We don't have him in the box, we really don't. He's done just about everything we've asked him to do and we'll continue to find ways and see if he's capable of doing things."

Defense dominates goal-line drills: Out of seven snaps in the practice-ending goal-line drill, the offense scored only once. That was when Rainey extended and crossed the plane -- and the offense never even came close in any of the other snaps. The offense attempted five runs and two passes. Veteran linebacker Larry Foote made two tackles in the backfield.

"From where I stood, it looked like Larry Foote controlled the whole drill," Tomlin said.

Starks predicts he'll be ready in time for opener: LT Max Starks was signed, in part, as insurance for rookie LT Mike Adams. It appears as if the Steelers might need to cash in on that policy. Adams was ineffective at times (especially in pass protection) in the loss to the Eagles, and he left the game with a right knee injury that will keep him out of practice a week or two. Starks' chances of keeping the starting job at left tackle have increased dramatically as a result. Starks said Sunday that he could be ready for the rigors of a regular-season game within three weeks. The team's opener is Sept. 9 -- four weeks from Sunday.

"I feel pretty good," Starks said. "I feel like I'm closer, of course, than I was before I got to camp."

Will Johnson continues to impress: Last week, undrafted first-year fullback Will Johnson already was gaining notice with the way he was carrying the ball and running routes out of the backfield during camp practices. Then, starting hybrid fullback/tight end David Johnson was knocked out for the season with a severe knee injury in a preseason loss at Philadelphia. That has made Will Johnson even more prominent during practice.

Will Johnson had highlights running, catching passes and blocking during drills Sunday.

"I think the more reps I get, the more I can learn and the better off I'll be down the road," Johnson said.

Injury updates: Clay went down in pain and was taken off the field via a cart. The severity of the injury was unknown. ... G Doug Legursky also left practice early due to a strained quadriceps. Tomlin termed him "day-to-day." ... WR Emmanuel Sanders was given the practice off. Sanders was bothered by foot injuries throughout most of last season. ... WR David Gilreath returned to practice after missing Saturday's drills. ... Tomlin said he expected Dwyer and Redman back for Tuesday's practice following the team's off day Monday.

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/blog/nfl-rapidreports/19785623/steelers-chris-rainey-a-speedy-goalline-back

Slapstick
08-13-2012, 05:33 PM
Again, pony backfield with Redman and Rainey down at the goalline, with two TEs...

Would they let Redman run it up the gut? Or let Rainey take it outside?

Or would they fake the handoff, have Ben rollout and throw to one of the two TEs or the WR?

Hell, or run it in himself?

hawaiiansteel
08-20-2012, 02:25 AM
Rainey has scare before returning to game

By Ralph Paulk
Published: Sunday, August 19, 2012

http://triblive.com/csp/mediapool/sites/dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls?STREAMOID=KiC7l b4OvjnhGbir5nUCm8$daE2N3K4ZzOUsqbU5sYsLLDYLf4VYvNQ AHZw3Qe54WCsjLu883Ygn4B49Lvm9bPe2QeMKQdVeZmXF$9l$4 uCZ8QDXhaHEp3rvzXRJFdy0KqPHLoMevcTLo3h8xh70Y6N_U_C ryOsw6FTOdKL_jpQ-&CONTENTTYPE=image/jpeg

Steelers running backs Chris Rainey and Issac Redman during OTAs on the South Side May 2012

The Steelers aren’t concerned about the size of running back Chris Rainey’s heart, but the coaches worry how much punishment the 5-foot-8, 178-pounder can endure.

It took one hard jab to bring him down Sunday against Indianapolis. Rainey swept left on a reverse, then was hammered by Jerraud Powers as he cut toward the middle of the field.

Rainey, who caught a 57-yard TD pass in the preseason opener at Philadelphia, was examined before being escorted to the locker room for further tests for possible concussion symptoms. Rainey returned to the game late in the first quarter.

• Antonio Brown dodged several Colts en route to the end zone on 67-yard TD catch in the first quarter. But credit tight end Heath Miller and running back Baron Batch with assists. Miller created a seam with a block on the boundary, then Batch took out two defenders to clear a path to the end zone. Batch missed last season with a knee injury but has bolstered his chances of making the team.

• Quarterback Jerrod Johnson, who completed 4 of 5 passes for 65 yards, showcased the mobility and agility that’s made him a contender for the third-string job. Johnson completed a fourth-down pass of 24 yards to receiver David Gilreath in the fourth quarter, then threw 21 yards to tight end Justin Peelle. On third-and-29, Johnson completed a 14-yard pass to rookie Toney Clemons (Valley) to set up a Daniel Hrapmann field goal.

• Ike Taylor and Reggie Wayne dueled during the first quarter. Rookie quarterback Andrew Luck targeted Wayne once on the first two drives. He appeared to have Wayne open on an out pattern, but Taylor returned it 49 yards for a score. Wayne gained redemption with 27- and 23-yard receptions to set up a Luck scoring run.

• Steelers linebacker Stevenson Sylvester missed the game with a knee injury. The Colts lost linebacker Robert Mathis (shoulder strain), receiver Austin Collie (concussion-like symptoms) and defensive end Cory Redding (knee) with injuries.

• Linebacker Mortty Ivy blocked a punt in the third quarter, and safety Robert Golden had 11⁄2 tackles on special teams in the first three quarters.

http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/2437836-85/rainey-quarter-game-wayne-yard-yards-batch-completed-johnson-knee

Oviedo
08-20-2012, 07:50 AM
Rainey has scare before returning to game

By Ralph Paulk
Published: Sunday, August 19, 2012

http://triblive.com/csp/mediapool/sites/dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls?STREAMOID=KiC7l b4OvjnhGbir5nUCm8$daE2N3K4ZzOUsqbU5sYsLLDYLf4VYvNQ AHZw3Qe54WCsjLu883Ygn4B49Lvm9bPe2QeMKQdVeZmXF$9l$4 uCZ8QDXhaHEp3rvzXRJFdy0KqPHLoMevcTLo3h8xh70Y6N_U_C ryOsw6FTOdKL_jpQ-&CONTENTTYPE=image/jpeg

Steelers running backs Chris Rainey and Issac Redman during OTAs on the South Side May 2012

The Steelers aren’t concerned about the size of running back Chris Rainey’s heart, but the coaches worry how much punishment the 5-foot-8, 178-pounder can endure.

It took one hard jab to bring him down Sunday against Indianapolis. Rainey swept left on a reverse, then was hammered by Jerraud Powers as he cut toward the middle of the field.

Rainey, who caught a 57-yard TD pass in the preseason opener at Philadelphia, was examined before being escorted to the locker room for further tests for possible concussion symptoms. Rainey returned to the game late in the first quarter.

• Antonio Brown dodged several Colts en route to the end zone on 67-yard TD catch in the first quarter. But credit tight end Heath Miller and running back Baron Batch with assists. Miller created a seam with a block on the boundary, then Batch took out two defenders to clear a path to the end zone. Batch missed last season with a knee injury but has bolstered his chances of making the team.

• Quarterback Jerrod Johnson, who completed 4 of 5 passes for 65 yards, showcased the mobility and agility that’s made him a contender for the third-string job. Johnson completed a fourth-down pass of 24 yards to receiver David Gilreath in the fourth quarter, then threw 21 yards to tight end Justin Peelle. On third-and-29, Johnson completed a 14-yard pass to rookie Toney Clemons (Valley) to set up a Daniel Hrapmann field goal.

• Ike Taylor and Reggie Wayne dueled during the first quarter. Rookie quarterback Andrew Luck targeted Wayne once on the first two drives. He appeared to have Wayne open on an out pattern, but Taylor returned it 49 yards for a score. Wayne gained redemption with 27- and 23-yard receptions to set up a Luck scoring run.

• Steelers linebacker Stevenson Sylvester missed the game with a knee injury. The Colts lost linebacker Robert Mathis (shoulder strain), receiver Austin Collie (concussion-like symptoms) and defensive end Cory Redding (knee) with injuries.

• Linebacker Mortty Ivy blocked a punt in the third quarter, and safety Robert Golden had 11⁄2 tackles on special teams in the first three quarters.

http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/2437836-85/rainey-quarter-game-wayne-yard-yards-batch-completed-johnson-knee

This is the whole risk/reward scenario with Rainey. He can explode for a great play and then take one hit and be out of the game. That is why I really think they should carry him as the #6 WR and keep and extra RB.

He just takes too much punishment running the ball out of the backfield.

Eich
08-20-2012, 07:51 AM
“I don’t like talking about him … but he’s pretty good,” Roethlisberger said.

anyone else confused by this line? Is it an inside joke?

I was confused by that at first as well. But then read this:


PHILADELPHIA — Ben Roethlisberger is selective when it comes to saying anything overly positive about rookies for fear it might lead to an inflated ego.

feltdizz
08-20-2012, 09:32 AM
I was confused by that at first as well. But then read this:

makes sense...

flippy
08-20-2012, 11:02 AM
This is the whole risk/reward scenario with Rainey. He can explode for a great play and then take one hit and be out of the game. That is why I really think they should carry him as the #6 WR and keep and extra RB.

He just takes too much punishment running the ball out of the backfield.

I think the Steelers should try to use him like Miami first used Wes Welker.

If he's gonna be a RB, he should start watching tapes of Warrick Dunn who was about the same size. Seemed to get 5 yard every carry and hardly ever took a hit.

hawaiiansteel
08-21-2012, 02:21 PM
Rainey ‘OK’ after concussion tests

By Ralph N. Paulk
Published: Tuesday, August 21, 2012

http://triblive.com/csp/mediapool/sites/dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls?STREAMOID=SXtCI IuVeWH4vpAjBxDMwc$daE2N3K4ZzOUsqbU5sYtltTnU8AmfQkc dX0KWCpSOWCsjLu883Ygn4B49Lvm9bPe2QeMKQdVeZmXF$9l$4 uCZ8QDXhaHEp3rvzXRJFdy0KqPHLoMevcTLo3h8xh70Y6N_U_C ryOsw6FTOdKL_jpQ-&CONTENTTYPE=image/jpeg

Steelers running back Chris Rainey is hit by the Colts' Jerraud Powers during the first quarter Sunday, Aug. 19, 2012. Rainey fumbled on the play and had to be helped from the field.

Chris Rainey repeatedly shook his head in an effort to clear the cobwebs after getting KO’d by Indianapolis cornerback Jerraud Powers in the first quarter of the Steelers’ 26-24 preseason victory Sunday night.

The rookie running back grudgingly relented to tests after being diagnosed with concussion symptoms by team medical personnel. After struggling to make it to the locker room, the fifth-round pick returned late in the second quarter.

“I begged and I asked them to let me play,” Rainey said. “I passed all the concussion tests. I’m all good now. I’m back to normal.”

Rainey, though, appeared as close to normal as Cleveland quarterback Colt McCoy at Heinz Field in December. McCoy took a blow to the head from linebacker James Harrison but returned to the lineup after backup Seneca Wallace took only one snap from center.

Commissioner Roger Goodell publicly criticized the Browns for their handling of McCoy, and McCoy’s father chastised the Browns for exercising poor judgment. The ordeal prompted the NFL to re-evaluate procedures in dealing with concussions.

In what could be defined as the Colt McCoy Rule, a player who may have been concussed is taken immediately out of games, scrimmages and practices. Coaches and trainers are to keep players out until they are cleared by further testing.

NFL spokesmen could not be reached Monday to determine if the league is reviewing the Steelers’ handling of Rainey.

The Steelers, according to coach Mike Tomlin, reinserted Rainey because, in the team physician’s opinions, his symptoms weren’t cause for alarm.

“I didn’t examine (him),” Tomlin said. “I just go with the doctors. They said he was fine to come back, so we played him.”

Still, Rainey said he took a heavy enough shot that he was momentarily unconscious.

“I woke up, and I’m still here,” said Rainey, who rushed six times for 20 yards and returned kickoffs. “I thought he dove at my head, and I thought there was a penalty.”

Rainey may have been cleared to play, but he was hardly effective. He admitted he struggled to keep his feet under him.

“The hit was one of those ‘Welcome to the National Football League’ hits,” Rainey said. “I kept slipping on cuts, and I dropped a couple of passes. I didn’t like it. I’m taking all the opportunities I can, and sometimes you’ve got to deal with getting hit.”

Tomlin emphasized that after the game.

“Everybody needs to feel the urgency of now in this business,” he said. “Particularly in a training camp-type setting, you work with a lot of young people, and there are a lot of guys who don’t understand that.”

In an effort to reduce concussions, Goodell sent teams a memo stating a player who suffers a concussion should not return to action on the same day if he shows certain symptoms –- including an inability to remember assignments or plays, a gap in memory, persistent dizziness and persistent headaches.

Rainey insisted afterward that he was fine and had no problem remembering plays.

While Rainey continued to play, the Colts sidelined receiver Austin Collie after he was diagnosed with concussion symptoms. The Colts were cautious with Collie, in part, because he missed much of last season with a head injury.

It was confirmed Monday that Collie did, in fact, sustain a concussion.

In 2007, NFL rules stated a player should not be allowed to return to the same game if he lost consciousness. Under those guidelines, Rainey would have been benched and forced to have further tests before returning to practice Tuesday as the Steelers prepare to play at Buffalo on Saturday.

http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/2445175-85/rainey-concussion-mccoy-steelers-symptoms-tests-collie-colts-fine-game