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