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Thread: Mike Tomlin gushed about the running backs

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    Mike Tomlin gushed about the running backs

    ON THE STEELERS: Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin unsatisfied, unhappy with RBs
    September 19, 2012 12:14 am
    Nate Guidry/Post-Gazette
    http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/...th-rbs-653962/


    By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Mike Tomlin gushed about the running backs and the potential of the ground game Tuesday.

    The Oakland Raiders backfield, that is.

    "All of their backs are capable of making house calls," Tomlin said.

    He's not so impressed with his own through the first two games, and he talked about cutting back the number of different plays in their repertoire because of it.

    "We haven't run the ball as well as we have liked," Tomlin said.

    The Steelers have 141 yards rushing in two games and a paltry 2.6 yards per carry, both ranked 30th in the NFL. Jonathan Dwyer leads them with 71 yards on 21 carries and Isaac Redman has 45 on 23runs. Their other two backs, Chris Rainey and Baron Batch, have six carries between them for 8 yards combined.

    Last season, the Steelers averaged 4.4 yards per carry for 16 games.


    Among the only two NFL teams behind the Steelers in effectiveness on the ground are the Raiders. Despite Tomlin's praise of Darren McFadden and his running mates, Oakland has only 68 yards rushing and averages just 2.0 per carry.

    Tomlin did not identify what the precise problem is for his own team. He declined to single out individuals, although it appears at times the backs are not hitting holes that are there for them.

    "I'm not interested in assigning blame in that regard. I will take responsibility for it. The reality is we've got room for growth."

    Helping that might be the return of Rashard Mendenhall to the stable of backs. He has practiced the past two weeks after having mid-January ACL surgery, but has not dressed yet for a game. The Steelers will step up his work in practice this week.

    "Maybe we will bump him around a little more in practice this week," Tomlin suggested. "He has done a nice job of running and cutting at full speed. Now, let's see if he can play a little football. We will thud him up a little bit on a day we are allowed to carry our pads and see if he can respond positively to it."

    Redman and Dwyer responded more positively in a 14-play, 75-yard fourth-quarter drive that consumed 10 minutes, 13 seconds Sunday and put the Jets away. Redman scored on a tackle-breaking, 2-yard run. Dwyer ran 7 yards on the previous play and the two backs combined for 30 yards on seven carries in that drive.

    It was their most impressive performance of the day, but not enough to suit their coach.

    "That's not what I'm looking for," Tomlin said. "I'm actually looking for better than that."


    Big Ben tops on third down

    Ben Roethlisberger's effectiveness as a passer has eased the failings of his runners, especially in critical portions of the game.

    He leads all quarterbacks in third-down passing efficiency with a 146.8 rating. He has completed 19 of 25 passes for 251 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions on third downs. Among them was his 37-yard scoring pass to Mike Wallace on third-and-16 Sunday. The Steelers converted eight of 15 third downs against the Jets.

    "We kept drives alive, and it allowed us to possess the ball," Tomlin said. "On our last 10-minute drive, we were 4 for 4 on third downs. When you do that, you put yourself in position to win."

    The Steelers have converted 19 of 34 third downs in two games, a 55.9 percent success rate that leads the NFL.


    New cornerback a hit

    The Steelers signed cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke Sept. 6 after the Raiders waived him three days earlier, and he has had an immediate impact on special teams.

    Van Dyke downed a punt at the 1 at Denver and might have caused New York's Jeremy Kerley to muff a punt as he bore down on him Sunday as the first man down for the Steelers.

    "He's done a great job," Tomlin said. "He's downed a punt for us. He was there for that play on that mishandled punt last week. I thought he showed awareness as a punt-return guy, pushing a gunner into the end zone who was trying to down a ball. Obviously, he's been an asset to us in that area."

    His play on special teams, wasn't necessarily the reason the Steelers signed him. The Raiders drafted him in the third round in 2011, the same year the Steelers drafted cornerbacks Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen in the third and fourth rounds. Van Dyke, who played at Miami, went 14 spots before Brown.

    "Quite frankly, the things that attracted us to him are the same things that attracted us to him when he came out in the draft," Tomlin said. "We thought that he was a long, fast kid with man-coverage ability. We compared him very favorably to Cortez Allen and really took a similar approach to those guys. He's in that draft class with Cortez and Curtis Brown, and we're thankful to have three young corners from a draft class just a couple of years ago in our program."


    Harrison, Polamalu update

    Neither James Harrison (knee) nor Troy Polamalu (calf) practiced or played last week, and it looks as if they might not do so this week, either.

    "We will take the same approach that we took a week ago in regards to their availability," Tomlin said. "We simply are going to work day to day and look at how their body responds to the work. We will start with informal workouts and work up to practice at some point."

    Tomlin said linebacker Chris Carter and safety Ryan Mundy have "done a solid job" replacing them.

    He added others to the injury list this week, saying all could be limited in early practices: tight end Heath Miller (ribs), offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert (groin) and Dwyer (turf toe).

    Linebacker Stevenson Sylvester (knee), who has not played since the first preseason game, "is moving closer to game readiness."


    First Published September 19, 2012 12:00 am

    Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/...#ixzz26t58zsZn

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    Steelers’ running game still work in progress

    http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/...#axzz26t74KNFD

    By Alan Robinson

    Published: Monday, September 17, 2012, 6:54 p.m.
    Updated: Monday, September 17, 2012

    This probably wasn’t what Steelers president Art Rooney II meant when he made it a priority to run the ball better this season.

    Since the NFL merger in 1970, no team has run the ball like the Steelers, and it’s not even close. The Steelers are only 335 yards rushing away from becoming the first team to rush for 90,000 yards since the NFL and AFL became one league. No other team has reached 85,000 yards, although the Cowboys are close at 84,666.

    Franco Harris (11,950 yards in a Steelers uniform) and Jerome Bettis (10,571 yards) had much to do with that statistic, but so did a mindset and commitment to the run regardless of the coach, be it Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher or Mike Tomlin. The Cardinals, by contrast, have more than 18,000 fewer yards during that span, the equivalent of 18 single 1,000-yard seasons.

    While new offensive coordinator Todd Haley has tried to establish the run, it’s not working. At least not yet. The Steelers’ 2.6 yards per carry average ranks 30th in the league, and their 141 yards rank 28th; 14 players in the league have 144 yards or more by themselves.

    “We’re kind of struggling right now,” said starting running back Isaac Redman, who has been limited to 45 yards on 23 carries. “But each game, we’re hoping to get better and better.”

    Jonathan Dwyer took over more of the load during the 27-10 win over the New York Jets on Sunday, yet he was held to a team-high 28 yards on 12 carries as the Steelers ended with 66 yards on 28 carries, six for negative yardage. Redman had 20 yards on 12 carries against the Broncos.

    While the Steelers also had only 141 yards at this stage of the 2009 season, they haven’t had fewer yards rushing in the first two games since 1990, the next-to-last season of Noll’s tenure. They had only 117 yards then, in part because they were held to 49 yards in a season-opening 13-3 loss to the Browns.

    The Steelers (1-1) face an even worse running team Sunday in Oakland (0-2), which has only 68 yards rushing despite having Darren McFadden, who ran for 1,157 yards in 2010.

    The Steelers haven’t had success running the ball despite splitting carries between two backs. What happens when former 1,000-yard rusher Rashard Mendenhall (knee) returns, probably after the bye week that follows the Raiders game?

    “I have no clue,” Redman said.

    Won’t having Mendenhall back require the carries to be split three ways, unless either Redman or Dwyer has his role downgraded?

    “I guess that’s what they’re going to have to do,” Redman said.

    The running game has been effective during only one stretch, the game-clinching 14-play drive Sunday that ended with Redman’s two-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Redman and Dwyer combined for 29 yards on seven carries, including a 10-yarder by Redman behind left guard Willie Colon.

    “It felt good to get some positive carries,” Redman said. “I got tired of getting hit in the backfield. I just wanted to keep my head in there and not get frustrated.”

    The same goes for an offensive line that is adjusting to having Colon at left guard — he moved from right tackle — and being without right guard David DeCastro, who injured a knee during the preseason and won’t return until sometime during the second half of the season.

    Center Maurkice Pouncey said the drive felt like what Steelers football is supposed to be in the fourth quarter.

    “It felt good to get on a roll like that, get guys moving up out of there and that’s what offensive linemen like,” Pouncey said.

    The Steelers need to start having more drives like this one, if only to lessen the burden on Ben Roethlisberger and his receivers to generate most of the offense. The Steelers are 19th in passing; not great, but much better than their running game is doing.

    “If you can run the ball, the linemen just love it,” Roethlisberger said.

    They’re not alone.

    Read more: http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/...#ixzz26t7q4PcL
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    Quote Originally Posted by fordfixer View Post
    Steelers’ running game still work in progress

    http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/...#axzz26t74KNFD

    By Alan Robinson

    Published: Monday, September 17, 2012, 6:54 p.m.
    Updated: Monday, September 17, 2012

    This probably wasn’t what Steelers president Art Rooney II meant when he made it a priority to run the ball better this season.

    Since the NFL merger in 1970, no team has run the ball like the Steelers, and it’s not even close. The Steelers are only 335 yards rushing away from becoming the first team to rush for 90,000 yards since the NFL and AFL became one league. No other team has reached 85,000 yards, although the Cowboys are close at 84,666.

    Franco Harris (11,950 yards in a Steelers uniform) and Jerome Bettis (10,571 yards) had much to do with that statistic, but so did a mindset and commitment to the run regardless of the coach, be it Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher or Mike Tomlin. The Cardinals, by contrast, have more than 18,000 fewer yards during that span, the equivalent of 18 single 1,000-yard seasons.

    While new offensive coordinator Todd Haley has tried to establish the run, it’s not working. At least not yet. The Steelers’ 2.6 yards per carry average ranks 30th in the league, and their 141 yards rank 28th; 14 players in the league have 144 yards or more by themselves.

    “We’re kind of struggling right now,” said starting running back Isaac Redman, who has been limited to 45 yards on 23 carries. “But each game, we’re hoping to get better and better.”

    Jonathan Dwyer took over more of the load during the 27-10 win over the New York Jets on Sunday, yet he was held to a team-high 28 yards on 12 carries as the Steelers ended with 66 yards on 28 carries, six for negative yardage. Redman had 20 yards on 12 carries against the Broncos.

    While the Steelers also had only 141 yards at this stage of the 2009 season, they haven’t had fewer yards rushing in the first two games since 1990, the next-to-last season of Noll’s tenure. They had only 117 yards then, in part because they were held to 49 yards in a season-opening 13-3 loss to the Browns.

    The Steelers (1-1) face an even worse running team Sunday in Oakland (0-2), which has only 68 yards rushing despite having Darren McFadden, who ran for 1,157 yards in 2010.

    The Steelers haven’t had success running the ball despite splitting carries between two backs. What happens when former 1,000-yard rusher Rashard Mendenhall (knee) returns, probably after the bye week that follows the Raiders game?

    “I have no clue,” Redman said.

    Won’t having Mendenhall back require the carries to be split three ways, unless either Redman or Dwyer has his role downgraded?

    “I guess that’s what they’re going to have to do,” Redman said.

    The running game has been effective during only one stretch, the game-clinching 14-play drive Sunday that ended with Redman’s two-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Redman and Dwyer combined for 29 yards on seven carries, including a 10-yarder by Redman behind left guard Willie Colon.

    “It felt good to get some positive carries,” Redman said. “I got tired of getting hit in the backfield. I just wanted to keep my head in there and not get frustrated.”

    The same goes for an offensive line that is adjusting to having Colon at left guard — he moved from right tackle — and being without right guard David DeCastro, who injured a knee during the preseason and won’t return until sometime during the second half of the season.

    Center Maurkice Pouncey said the drive felt like what Steelers football is supposed to be in the fourth quarter.

    “It felt good to get on a roll like that, get guys moving up out of there and that’s what offensive linemen like,” Pouncey said.

    The Steelers need to start having more drives like this one, if only to lessen the burden on Ben Roethlisberger and his receivers to generate most of the offense. The Steelers are 19th in passing; not great, but much better than their running game is doing.

    “If you can run the ball, the linemen just love it,” Roethlisberger said.

    They’re not alone.

    Read more: http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/...#ixzz26t7q4PcL
    Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

    The first two games of the season have shown that all the off season hype about "the next great RB" is phooey!!!! Mendy has been and still is our best RB. We need him to get back on the field. Hate on him all you want but he has two 1,000 yard seasons under his belt. Dwyer and Redman may not get 1,000 combined in the next 5 years at the rate they are going
    Playing Fantasy Football does not qualify you to be the in the front office or on the coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are professionals and you are not!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo View Post
    The first two games of the season have shown that all the off season hype about "the next great RB" is phooey!!!! Mendy has been and still is our best RB. We need him to get back on the field. Hate on him all you want but he has two 1,000 yard seasons under his belt. Dwyer and Redman may not get 1,000 combined in the next 5 years at the rate they are going
    Mendy will come in with fresh legs, but he will have to run behind the same crappy run-blocking that the other backs have had. Until the line can start opening some holes, whoever gets the carries is going to struggle. You can talk about another 1000-yard season for Mendy all you want, but unless our o-line play improves dramatically, it's just a pipe dream.

    FWIW, this line has regressed when it comes to run blocking. Maybe Kemo was more of a presence then we thought.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BradshawsHairdresser View Post
    Mendy will come in with fresh legs, but he will have to run behind the same crappy run-blocking that the other backs have had. Until the line can start opening some holes, whoever gets the carries is going to struggle. You can talk about another 1000-yard season for Mendy all you want, but unless our o-line play improves dramatically, it's just a pipe dream.

    FWIW, this line has regressed when it comes to run blocking. Maybe Kemo was more of a presence then we thought.
    I agree that they have regressed. We still have nothing better than a back-up starting in Foster, Pouncey seems to get pushed around more than he ever has and Colon is just plain making mistakes. I'll give Colon a little break because the guy is playing his first "live fire" games in two years and at a new position. he has to get better and fast though or we need to look for another OG in the next draft.

    I mentioned in another thread that maybe Kugler had us all fooled. Three years now and he hasn't improved the OL at all.
    Playing Fantasy Football does not qualify you to be the in the front office or on the coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are professionals and you are not!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo View Post
    I agree that they have regressed. We still have nothing better than a back-up starting in Foster, Pouncey seems to get pushed around more than he ever has and Colon is just plain making mistakes. I'll give Colon a little break because the guy is playing his first "live fire" games in two years and at a new position. he has to get better and fast though or we need to look for another OG in the next draft.

    I mentioned in another thread that maybe Kugler had us all fooled. Three years now and he hasn't improved the OL at all.
    Colon will improve and Starks has played fairly well as he recovers. The right side and Pouncey have played poorly for the most part, but they run blocked moderately well last season. We should improve.
    Even if Bill Belichick was getting an atomic wedgie, his face would look exactly the same.

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    Yeah, those who called for Redman are in manifest error. He limits the playbook. He is nothing more than an North/South runner with no wiggle. Run him on a sweep, counter, stretch play and he is ineffective. Mendenhall is above average on all levels. He can even catch the ball out of the backfield. He is easily the best rb on the roster

  8. #8
    There have been dozens of threads or articles this week talking about the running game. No where did I see any suggestions from the fans or experts on ways to correct or improve things. From the viewpoint that there are no problems with the personnel [I believe this]does anyone have any ideas that they think would work?

    Usually some fans will ask "Is it possible there are TELLS? Or maybe suggest a misdirection play or something. [It does seem like the D's are waiting for the backs a lot] Stuff like that or maybe technical stuff. I mean us casual fans are really stumped.

    Incidentally, I think this week there will be much improvement. The way the players are talking a lot of issues are being worked out.l

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keyplay1 View Post
    There have been dozens of threads or articles this week talking about the running game. No where did I see any suggestions from the fans or experts on ways to correct or improve things. From the viewpoint that there are no problems with the personnel [I believe this]does anyone have any ideas that they think would work?

    I think by trying so hard to establish the running game Todd Haley is a little too predictable on first down and the other team knows we are gonna run.

    also, I think we need to spread the defense out more with more 3 WR sets and less 3 TE formations which only congests things and leaves no running lanes.

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