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Thread: Steelers’ run game off to worst start in 62 years

  1. #1
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    Steelers’ run game off to worst start in 62 years

    Steelers’ run game off to worst start in 62 years

    http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/...#axzz27dt29vth

    By Alan Robinson

    Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012,

    Isaac Redman started the first three games, but he understands changes are needed in what is becoming an historically bad Steelers running game.

    Redman concedes former 1,000-yard rusher Rashard Mendenhall will regain his starting job as soon as he is healthy and ready to play, and all signs point to that being when the Steelers return Monday from their weekend off.

    “We’re looking for him to come in and be the feature guy,” Redman said Thursday.

    Time for a change? Even Ben Roethlisberger’s exceptional passing statistics can’t cover up that the Steelers haven’t been this one-dimensional since they were running an offense most teams gave up on in the 1940s.

    With 195 yards rushing and a 2.64-yards-per-carry average, the running game is off to its worst start in 62 years — or since the Steelers were the last NFL team still using the single-wing offense. For comparison’s sake, the Chiefs have run for 575 yards.

    And they didn’t call it the wildcat back in 1950, when the Steelers gained only 189 yards in the first three games of what became a 6-6 season.

    “We’ve got talented receivers, we’ve got a Superman at quarterback, and it’s easy to say that the pass is doing better,” left guard Willie Colon said. “To kind of sum it all up, we’ve got to put in more work.”

    During the offseason, general manager Kevin Colbert said the team couldn’t count on Mendenhall in 2012, not after he tore the ACL in his right knee Jan. 1 in Cleveland. Then again, Colbert probably didn’t count on not having a running back capable of gaining even 75 yards in three games.

    Redman’s 72 yards (on 32 carries) lead an offense that not long ago figured on Willie Parker or Jerome Bettis gaining that many yards by the end of the third quarter. Jonathan Dwyer (70 yards) is the only other running back with more than 15 yards rushing.

    Still, offensive coordinator Todd Haley said the Steelers (1-2) must ease in Mendenhall, who didn’t resume practicing until Labor Day.

    “To get another difference-maker back hopefully will be a big deal for us,” Haley said.

    Redman and Dwyer are inside runners, while Mendenhall is a turn-the-corner back capable of breaking the big run the Steelers are lacking. Their longest run is a 13-yarder by Redman.

    “But I don’t think (the running game) is too much different than it’s been,” Mendenhall said. “It might be perceived that we’re struggling, and it’s not the case. It’s a different offense, we’ve got some different guys, and we’re trying to figure out how to put it together.”

    The blocking isn’t totally to blame; Haley gave All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey an unusually high grade after the 34-31 loss Sunday in Oakland. But Colon acknowledged he’s still making the transition from right tackle to left guard, especially while run blocking.

    “One thing I’ve learned in the three games I’ve been playing at my position is a lot of what I do makes runs go, as far as pulling and clearing holes,” Colon said. “I personally haven’t been efficient with that. I’m trying my best and working my tail off. There are a lot of blocks that I see, if I were to be more detailed in my work and better at what I do, maybe our run average would be better.”

    Roethlisberger has compensated for the absence of a running game by throwing 120 times for 904 yards, eight touchdowns and one interception, by far the most attempts for a Steelers quarterback this early in a season.

    Even Joe Gilliam had fewer attempts (112) in 1974, when he threw so often while calling his own plays that it finally led coach Chuck Noll to bench him for Terry Bradshaw.

    “I feel good about the guys up front and feel good about the guys carrying the ball,” Haley said. “You will see the run game come along — and it needs to.”

    Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at arobinson@tribweb.com.

    Read more: http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/...#ixzz27dtEINaO
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    So much for "just wait and see what Redman does," we saw and it was found lacking. Mendenhall is the only legit #1 RB we have. Everyone else is a role player right now.

    I'm glad Colon know what he is doing wrong but after just three games at the position I still think he has a high ceiling there. He needs to speed up the learning curve.
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  3. #3
    “But I don’t think (the running game) is too much different than it’s been,” Mendenhall said. “It might be perceived that we’re struggling, and it’s not the case. It’s a different offense, we’ve got some different guys, and we’re trying to figure out how to put it together.”

    I wanna know what hell Rashard Mendenhall is smoking, how much it costs per ounce and who I need to call to get some. Is he serious? Perceived to be struggling? That's like saying a whale is perceived to be a large animal. It's one thing to back your teammates, but that statement is asinine. This running game is embarassing. I'm not sure if RM is the fix to the problem, but I hope so. But that smacks of classic denial to me. And you can't fix a problem, if you deny it exists.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo View Post
    So much for "just wait and see what Redman does," we saw and it was found lacking. Mendenhall is the only legit #1 RB we have. Everyone else is a role player right now.

    I'm glad Colon know what he is doing wrong but after just three games at the position I still think he has a high ceiling there. He needs to speed up the learning curve.
    I will be glad to be wrong. But I don't see Mendenhall as the savior in this. We've seen him for years - at times looking good, and at times dancing and spinning for little gain. If Mendy had been 100% at the start of this season, I don't think he would've done much better (if at all).

    The line is different this year and the offense is different this year. Redman is better than his average so far this year shows. It'll take some time to jell.

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    Hall of Famer Mister Pittsburgh's Avatar
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    The offensive line is the issue. Having DeCastro injured was about the worst thing that could of happened for our running game. We really needed to address the offensive line in free agency due to our inability to draft starting caliber OL unless they are first round picks. We have no money to sign a quality free agent though as we have had to re-sign old defensive free agents to contracts rather than have young players that are cheap to plug into the starting lineup, due to the same inability to draft any starting caliber players outside the first round and also the mandatory sitting period to learn Lebeau's defense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eich View Post
    I will be glad to be wrong. But I don't see Mendenhall as the savior in this. We've seen him for years - at times looking good, and at times dancing and spinning for little gain. If Mendy had been 100% at the start of this season, I don't think he would've done much better (if at all).

    The line is different this year and the offense is different this year. Redman is better than his average so far this year shows. It'll take some time to jell.
    Redman had a couple flashes last game and maybe when he returns to the back up role he should be in he will be able to do that more as a change of pace. Mendy won't be the savior early on this season until he gets into game shape but he is a more complete back and I think he is perfect for Haley's offense and the emphasis on getting the ball to RBs on short passes.

    As others have said until we fix the OL it will be hard for any RB.
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    Pro Bowler pfelix73's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Pittsburgh View Post
    The offensive line is the issue. Having DeCastro injured was about the worst thing that could of happened for our running game. We really needed to address the offensive line in free agency due to our inability to draft starting caliber OL unless they are first round picks. We have no money to sign a quality free agent though as we have had to re-sign old defensive free agents to contracts rather than have young players that are cheap to plug into the starting lineup, due to the same inability to draft any starting caliber players outside the first round and also the mandatory sitting period to learn Lebeau's defense.

    Disagree with you 110% on the 1st part of your post. DeCastro is one player (rook at that) among 5 OL. And to honest? Foster and DeCastro were pretty much 1 and 1A in camp. There is no huge drop off from DeCastro to Foster, so your idea of the OL to blame is just rubbish. You put a LeSean McCoy or Ray Rice on this team, they will still pick up the yardage and 1st downs...regardless..

    Now, I do agree with your idea about addressing it in FA. If they could've released some $ and signed say a Ben Grubbs, then they could've used that 1st round pick on defense. We need more play-makers on defense. A lot of those guys come from the 1st few rounds, unless you really luck out on a round 5-type guy....rare..
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    Quote Originally Posted by pfelix73 View Post
    Disagree with you 110% on the 1st part of your post. DeCastro is one player (rook at that) among 5 OL. And to honest? Foster and DeCastro were pretty much 1 and 1A in camp. There is no huge drop off from DeCastro to Foster, so your idea of the OL to blame is just rubbish. You put a LeSean McCoy or Ray Rice on this team, they will still pick up the yardage and 1st downs...regardless..

    Now, I do agree with your idea about addressing it in FA. If they could've released some $ and signed say a Ben Grubbs, then they could've used that 1st round pick on defense. We need more play-makers on defense. A lot of those guys come from the 1st few rounds, unless you really luck out on a round 5-type guy....rare..

    I'm sorry but DeCastro and Foster are not 1 and 1A. If that were the case a rookie wouldn't essentially had been handed the job which you can try to talk around but DeCastro was going to be the starter from Day 1.

    Foster is part of the OL problem and has been for the past two years he has started. He can't get push off the LOS hence the proiblems we have in short yardage and he can't consistetntly maintain his blocks in pass protection. He is a good back up but should never be on the field for the extended periods we have played him.
    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!

  9. #9
    Pro Bowler pfelix73's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo View Post
    I'm sorry but DeCastro and Foster are not 1 and 1A. If that were the case a rookie wouldn't essentially had been handed the job which you can try to talk around but DeCastro was going to be the starter from Day 1.

    Foster is part of the OL problem and has been for the past two years he has started. He can't get push off the LOS hence the proiblems we have in short yardage and he can't consistetntly maintain his blocks in pass protection. He is a good back up but should never be on the field for the extended periods we have played him.
    Bullsheet! You and I will never see eye to eye on this, and I don't give a rats ars about that either. DeCastro was surely getting the nod over Foster because he was the #1 draft pick, but playing-wise they were neck and neck in camp. If you go back and listen to statements from those that are in the local media and at camp- oh wait- you are in Florida not Pitt, you would surely know that many were saying Foster was having a great camp and was pushing for playing time.. Hence the 1 and 1A statement I made. And those that were making statements such as these range from WTAE announcing the local pre season games to Tunch and Craig Wolfley to even PSU's old coach Tom Bradley who is on some local radio up here. This was the talk during camp.

    Totally disagree with you that he can't pass protect and he's not getting off the ball. If you are zone blocking on a running play, you aren't supposed to hold your block.. In man, he would, but not zone- damn it depends on what the play is called, formation, and blocking scheme called- and we don't know whats called just by watching the game- only the OL coach and staff would know after watching the films...
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by pfelix73 View Post
    Bullsheet! You and I will never see eye to eye on this, and I don't give a rats ars about that either. DeCastro was surely getting the nod over Foster because he was the #1 draft pick, but playing-wise they were neck and neck in camp. If you go back and listen to statements from those that are in the local media and at camp- oh wait- you are in Florida not Pitt, you would surely know that many were saying Foster was having a great camp and was pushing for playing time.. Hence the 1 and 1A statement I made. And those that were making statements such as these range from WTAE announcing the local pre season games to Tunch and Craig Wolfley to even PSU's old coach Tom Bradley who is on some local radio up here. This was the talk during camp.

    Totally disagree with you that he can't pass protect and he's not getting off the ball. If you are zone blocking on a running play, you aren't supposed to hold your block.. In man, he would, but not zone- damn it depends on what the play is called, formation, and blocking scheme called- and we don't know whats called just by watching the game- only the OL coach and staff would know after watching the films...
    "Talk during camp" is not to throw Foster under the bus publicly...

    DeCastro would have been a game 1 starter due to his superior play over Ramon Foster...

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