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Thread: Steelers Training Camp Primer: The Running Backs

  1. #1
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    Steelers Training Camp Primer: The Running Backs

    Overview



    Following the Steelers disappointing 9-7 finish to the 2009 season, team president Art Rooney Jr. publicly stated that the Steelers would be renewing their commitment to running the football in 2010 and beyond. Following a year in which the team missed the playoffs despite setting numerous franchise records passing the ball, the proud franchise would revert back to 'Steelers football'. Considering Ben Roethlisberger's situation, the make up of the offensive line, and how Rashard Mendenhall performed last season, Steelers fans can only hope that Rooney's promise is put into action by offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.


    The Man

    That would be Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh's first-round draft pick in 2008. After missing almost all of his rookie season after having his shoulder obliterated by Ray Lewis, Mendenhall gave Steeler Nation a taste of why the Steelers pounced at the opportunity to select the former Illinois star.

    After being benched by Mike Tomlin for Pittsburgh's Week 3 tilt against the Cincinnati Bengals, Mendenhall had his coming out party as a pro against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday Night football the following week. Credit Tomlin for the motivational mastery - Mendenhall hadn't been paying attention to the little things in practice earlier in the year. That wasn't an issue for the rest of the year. Mendenhall finished the season.

    Mendenhall's final 2009 stats

    242 carries, 1,108 yards, 7 TDs, 4.6 Y/A, 25 receptions, 261 yards, 1 TD



    Competing For Carries


    The Steelers are hoping that a legitimate number two emerges to compliment Mendenhall now that Willie Parker has taken his act to Washington D.C. Here are the candidates.

    •Mewelde Moore - One of Mike Tomlin's hand-picked free agent acquisitions during his first year in Pittsburgh, Moore has done a little bit of everything the past three seasons. He filled in as a regular ball carrier in 2008 when Parker and Mendenhall were both injured; he has been the offense's 3rd down back; he's been an adept pass catcher out of the backfield; returned punts and generally been everything the organization could have hoped for when they inked him to a modest three year deal. FOr as good as he's been, Moore has limited upside at this stage in his career as a regular ball carrier. And despite having great instincts finding seams to slither through, Moore has proven that he's not much of a short-yardage or goal line force. That's not to say he can't carry the ball 8-12 times per game if necessary, just that he might be better suited as the team's third down 'back and not as a regular part of the rotation with Mendy.
    •Jonathan Dwyer - A more suitable candidate to emerge as the team's number two rushing threat could be rookie Jonathan Dwyer, a 6th round draft pick from Georgia Tech. Dwyer could easily be the steal of this year's draft if he can help the Steelers solve their short yardage and red zone woes. Dwyer, unlike fellow bruiser Frank Summers, is more versatile and nimble than his 235 pound frame suggests. He ran over, past and around ACC competition for multiple years before testing poorly at the Combine and sliding down draft boards.

    Also In The Mix

    Rounding out the depth chart at RB are Summers - whose days may be numbered if he can't stay healthy and productive on special teams during camp and the preseason - and 2009 practice squad ‘backs Isaac Redman and Justin Vincent. Redman and Vincent will both have opportunity to prove they're more ready and capable to carry the ball occasionally in Bruce Arians' offense.

    What To Expect

    Well, if all goes according to plan, Mendenhall should see somewhere between 320-360 carries this season. If he can stay healthy that is. Moore, who is scheduled to make nearly $2 million in the final year of his contract, could be a salary cap casualty if the team feels sufficiently confident in the trio of Dwyer, Vincent and Redman to assume the pass-blocking, pass-catching and occasional rushing duties that Moore has shouldered so capably in recent years. It's a safer bet though that the Steelers coaching staff and front office retains Moore for insurance purposes considering the lack of experience on the depth chart.

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/20 ... ining-camp

  2. #2

    Re: Steelers Training Camp Primer: The Running Backs

    I have to agree with Moore being kept this year for insurance. But, if Dwyer turns out to be what I think he will be...Moore will be gone after this season.

  3. #3
    Legend RuthlessBurgher's Avatar
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    Re: Steelers Training Camp Primer: The Running Backs

    It is difficult to be a salary cap casualty when there is no salary cap.

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    Legend hawaiiansteel's Avatar
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    Re: Steelers Training Camp Primer: The Running Backs

    my prediction for the RB depth chart:

    1) Mendy

    2) Moore

    3) battle between Dwyer and Redman

    4) Vincent

    Frank Summers will be battling Demetrius Taylor, David Johnson and Sean McHugh for the FB/H-Back position since we know Arians will never have a true FB in his offense.

  5. #5

    Re: Steelers Training Camp Primer: The Running Backs

    I think that the two positions that are written in pen are RM as the feature back and MM as the guy who just fills in all the gaps. It is up to the rest of them to see that there are as few gaps as possible for MM to fill.

    What I mean is....can one of them be the #2? If not then MM is the #2. Can someone else step into the third down spot? If not then it will be Moore. The only gap he will not fill will be short yardage.

  6. #6
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    Re: Steelers Training Camp Primer: The Running Backs

    I see Mendy toting the rock between the 20s. Redzone Redman will get his number called inside the 20 and short yardage. Moore will be the 3rd down back and will be used in the no huddle. And I see Dwyer getting a shot at a series or 2.

  7. #7
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    Re: Steelers Training Camp Primer: The Running Backs

    Quote Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel
    my prediction for the RB depth chart:

    1) Mendy

    2) Moore

    3) battle between Dwyer and Redman

    4) Vincent

    Frank Summers will be battling Demetrius Taylor, David Johnson and Sean McHugh for the FB/H-Back position since we know Arians will never have a true FB in his offense.
    There will be no battle between Dwyer and Redman. Dwyer wins hands down because of his potential and the fact that he would get snatched off the Practice Squad. Redman, and Summers, can go to the Practice Squad and no other team will pay attention since he is only a legend within the boundries of Allegheny County.

    Demetrius Taylor is someone I want to hear more about. Following reports out of OTAs have been all positive and it seems like the kid has speed (ran a 4.7 or 4.8 i read somewhere). Also seems to be very good catching the ball. His key will be Special teams and as a former defensive player with his Va Tech background that could bode well.

    I'll take McHugh over Johnson. McHugh is a solid lead blocker and he can actually catch the ball which Johnson seems to have issues with.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Steelers Training Camp Primer: The Running Backs

    I've been involved in a few Dwyer/Redman conversations, but frankly, I'm bit worried about Mendi making it through.
    We may be relying on Redman AND Dwyer a bit more than any of us like.

  9. #9
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    Re: Steelers Training Camp Primer: The Running Backs

    I still think a veteran back (Fargas, Betts) could be brought in before or during camp.

  10. #10
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    Re: Steelers Training Camp Primer: The Running Backs

    Quote Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel
    my prediction for the RB depth chart:

    1) Mendy

    2) Moore

    3) battle between Dwyer and Redman

    4) Stefan Logan

    Frank Summers will be battling Demetrius Taylor, David Johnson and Sean McHugh for the FB/H-Back position since we know Arians will never have a true FB in his offense.
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