Rashard Goes down, Redman steps up. Get ready for a roller coaster ride. Courtesy http://www.huffingtonpost.com

Rashard Mendenhall’s Injury Sure to be a Factor


Yuk it up, folks. Ever since Rashard tweeted about his not-so popular view of OBL, you’ve wanted him sidelined or off the team. Fans have been extra hard on Rashard for “ALL THE DANCING!” yet he’s managed to average 4.1 YPC on the season with an offensive line that can be characterized with nothing more than a shrug of the shoulders. Well, many of you got your wish when Rashard went down during the final regular season game against the Browns with a torn ACL.

All I’m saying is: Be careful what you wish for.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Isaac Redman. I think he is a great Steeler, a good back, and a good change of pace back. I just don’t think he has the talent, ability or stamina to last an entire game without either getting injured or coughing the ball up. You see, there are some who are meant to carry a lesser load. We take for granted the fact that Rashard hadn’t fumbled but one time in 2011, and only has 6 fumbles in his entire career. Granted, one of those fumbles was in last year’s Super Bowl, but anyone can tell that was as much the OLine’s fault as it was Rashard’s.

So Isaac Redman will get the load. Partly because Jonathan Dwyer and Mewelde Moore are both up the creek without a paddle sitting around waiting to heal. John Clay, someone who nearly quit this off season because of how bad he was playing and how difficult it was to run the ball at the NFL level…in practice…is now the #2 guy. For me, this just spells disaster in the running game. You might not like that Rashard tweeted about OBL, you might not like that he’s not a republican, but he was still our running back. He is still a Steeler. There are plenty of Steelers who have done their fair share of shameful stuff. Between Harrison’s domestic abuse charges, Roethlisberger’s rape charges, Santonio’s weed charges, Antonio Brown’s custody battle for his illegitimate children, and Hines Ward’s DUI, somehow Steeler Nation thought Rashard had the worst of it. “He’s a LIBERAL!” OOOOoooooooo. Scary.

The fact that there seemed to be some kind of sigh of relief when Rashard went down, even some laughs, just makes me sick. It’s anti everything I believe this organization stands for. He’s a Steeler, through and through. He deserves better from the fans.

Without Rashard and an effective run game, we will have to rely more on Ben’s arm, and Mike Wallace’s recent inability to get open down the field – or you know, Ben’s recent inability to hit him in stride. AB has emerged as the offensive stud, but we need more guys out there with the ability to make big plays happen or we’re going to get swallowed up whole in the playoffs. Not only will our offense be unbalanced, the pass game is hindered by a hobbling offensive line and a hobbling $100 Million Quarterback.

Keisel said Ben’s always injured with something when they make their Super Bowl runs, but I’m not so sure that’s such a good thing this year. Ben’s inability to be himself (mobile splash plays) coupled with our inability to run the ball, or worse, trust our #1 running back to hold on to the ball when he’s too tired in the 4th quarter, makes me mighty nervous.

I’m not saying we’ll lose to Denver, because my opinion on that team has shifted quite drastically over the last couple of weeks (along with everyone else in the world who is not a Denver fan). The second round, however, could prove to have it’s difficulties.

But hey, at least we’re getting our defense back. That’s something. Woodley and Harrison (both injured at the moment, actually) should both be playing this week, and Troy looks like a beast again. The issue with the offense won’t be against the Broncos, though. The offense should be just fine against the Broncos. What worries me is what happens when the Steelers play the Ravens and have to put up 35 points to win? What happens if they make the Super Bowl and have to put up 45 points to win? Is our offense built that way? Is it possible for us to put 45 points on the board without an effective running back?

I just don’t know. Not sure if I’m just being a scared little fan-boy or if I’m being realistic here. It just seems to me like we wanted Rashard gone and now that he is, we’ll be kicking ourselves for wishing it. I saw big things happening with Rashard. He was just about to hit his prime, on the verge of it, and now his full potential may never be realized.

Here’s to hoping Redzone Redman can carry the run game on his back with help only from John Clay and a pre-game prayer. Except Jesus won’t be helping the Steelers because we’re playing Tebow. So that just leaves Clay.

Oh boy.

Follow me on Twitter at @AdamMeckler, I tweet a lot.

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  • dbuzard

    Great post!

  • dbuzard

    Great post!

  • steelers14

    Good post. I couldn’t agree more, I believe that people have been way too hard on Mendenhall considering that he took a beaten with 400+ touches last year, had a patchwork line, and an offense catered to the QB. Factor in the lack of a traditional full back that you see guys like Arian Foster and Ray Rice running behind.

    Hopefully we’ll see Mendy on opening day next year without experiencing any negative effects on him running. Although it was a different type of injury, maybe we can see Mendy make a MJD type return, which I think he will!

  • steelers14

    Good post. I couldn’t agree more, I believe that people have been way too hard on Mendenhall considering that he took a beaten with 400+ touches last year, had a patchwork line, and an offense catered to the QB. Factor in the lack of a traditional full back that you see guys like Arian Foster and Ray Rice running behind.

    Hopefully we’ll see Mendy on opening day next year without experiencing any negative effects on him running. Although it was a different type of injury, maybe we can see Mendy make a MJD type return, which I think he will!

  • emilio_user

    Mark Kaboly was mocking bc he goes in crutches with his mom to the FO, I guess a trade is the better way for both sides

  • ToddWilliams

    Good post, Adam. I agree as well. I really hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think we’ll make it past the 2nd round of the playoffs for the following reasons:

    1. Our now iffy running game.

    2. Ben’s gimpy leg.

    3. Ben’s tendency lately to overthrow Wallace.

    4. Troy’s tendency this year to blow coverages with wild guesses. I’ve seen him several times not even watching the quarterback while running after the wrong receiver!

    5. Giving too much cushion on zone defenses early on in games, which will just give Baltimore an early groove on their terrible passing game.

    6. Our lack of ability to create turnovers…caused by our safeties not reading the opposing QBs quickly enough, and the lack of pressure we’re putting on QBs like Flacco. Hopefully having Harrison and Woodley in together will alleviate this.

    7. Last (and probably least) is Suisham’s inability to kick accurately over 45 yards.

    These are some of the weaknesses that have me concerned. Feel free to correct me on any of these if I’ve blown them out of proportion.

  • emilio_user

    Mark Kaboly was mocking bc he goes in crutches with his mom to the FO, I guess a trade is the better way for both sides

  • ToddWilliams

    Good post, Adam. I agree as well. I really hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think we’ll make it past the 2nd round of the playoffs for the following reasons:

    1. Our now iffy running game.

    2. Ben’s gimpy leg.

    3. Ben’s tendency lately to overthrow Wallace.

    4. Troy’s tendency this year to blow coverages with wild guesses. I’ve seen him several times not even watching the quarterback while running after the wrong receiver!

    5. Giving too much cushion on zone defenses early on in games, which will just give Baltimore an early groove on their terrible passing game.

    6. Our lack of ability to create turnovers…caused by our safeties not reading the opposing QBs quickly enough, and the lack of pressure we’re putting on QBs like Flacco. Hopefully having Harrison and Woodley in together will alleviate this.

    7. Last (and probably least) is Suisham’s inability to kick accurately over 45 yards.

    These are some of the weaknesses that have me concerned. Feel free to correct me on any of these if I’ve blown them out of proportion.

  • craig.nicepickcowher

    Mendenhall had the second fewest yards after contact (1.6 per carry) among running backs with at least 200 carries.

    That right there is your X factor in my book. That’s a terrible stat. They way the Steelers run this offense and the way the o-line block, they need a back who can get more yards after the contact.

  • craig.nicepickcowher

    Mendenhall had the second fewest yards after contact (1.6 per carry) among running backs with at least 200 carries.

    That right there is your X factor in my book. That’s a terrible stat. They way the Steelers run this offense and the way the o-line block, they need a back who can get more yards after the contact.

  • AdamMeckler

    @craig.nicepickcowher That’s great point, and I did not know that stat. My main concern in that Redman can’t carry the load for a whole game. Regardless of Mendy’s yards after being hit stat, at least he can run a whole game without coughing it up or getting injured (save for the ACL tear, obviously). Redman has a ways to go before I am going to let up on this issue. I think it is going to be a big factor.

  • AdamMeckler

    @ToddWilliams Hey Todd, I’m not going to correct you because I feel the same way. That being said, I will never bet against the Steelers in the playoffs. I just can’t. If we can gt Pouncey back before the 2nd round (along with Ryan Clark), and Ben’s ankle starts to feel better, maybe we make a run at it. There’s no telling, and the Ravens are still the Ravens. I still believe we can beat them any day of the week.

    But yes, things are not looking too “up” for the Steelers right now. The road to the Super Bowl on the road is a long one. We’re just lucky there are a lot of guys on this team who have done it before and know what it takes.

    I believe that if the Steelers come out and destroy the Broncos (Ben throws for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns or something), that will be a huge boost in the team’s confidence, and could be a big factor when we go play in the 2nd round.

  • AdamMeckler

    @steelers14 Hopefully. Hard to say if he’ll be able to come back fully from an injury like that, but we’ll see. This does give guys like John Clay a shot to play in the biggest games and prove themselves as runners. Who knows, maybe we’ll find another diamond in the rough of the practice squad running backs. There is always hope, it’s that realism thing that always gets me.

  • AdamMeckler

    @dbuzard Thanks man!

  • AdamMeckler

    @craig.nicepickcowher That’s great point, and I did not know that stat. My main concern in that Redman can’t carry the load for a whole game. Regardless of Mendy’s yards after being hit stat, at least he can run a whole game without coughing it up or getting injured (save for the ACL tear, obviously). Redman has a ways to go before I am going to let up on this issue. I think it is going to be a big factor.

  • AdamMeckler

    @ToddWilliams Hey Todd, I’m not going to correct you because I feel the same way. That being said, I will never bet against the Steelers in the playoffs. I just can’t. If we can gt Pouncey back before the 2nd round (along with Ryan Clark), and Ben’s ankle starts to feel better, maybe we make a run at it. There’s no telling, and the Ravens are still the Ravens. I still believe we can beat them any day of the week.

    But yes, things are not looking too “up” for the Steelers right now. The road to the Super Bowl on the road is a long one. We’re just lucky there are a lot of guys on this team who have done it before and know what it takes.

    I believe that if the Steelers come out and destroy the Broncos (Ben throws for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns or something), that will be a huge boost in the team’s confidence, and could be a big factor when we go play in the 2nd round.

  • AdamMeckler

    @steelers14 Hopefully. Hard to say if he’ll be able to come back fully from an injury like that, but we’ll see. This does give guys like John Clay a shot to play in the biggest games and prove themselves as runners. Who knows, maybe we’ll find another diamond in the rough of the practice squad running backs. There is always hope, it’s that realism thing that always gets me.

  • AdamMeckler

    @dbuzard Thanks man!