Mendenhall, Redman unsure when they'll be healthy By Gregg Rosenthal Around The League editor Published: Aug. 23, 2012 at 11:17 a.m. Updated: Aug. 23, 2012 at 12:08 p.m.
The regular season opener is only two weeks away, and the Pittsburgh Steelers still aren't sure who they can rely on in their running game.
The boost the Steelers received when Rashard Mendenhall came off the PUP list last week has been replaced by the reality Mendenhall still isn't likely to be ready to play anytime soon.
"To be real, I don't know when I'll be ready to play," Mendenhall said Wednesday, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I'm just working with the training staff and doing what I can to get on the field."
Mendenhall is practicing in 7-on-7 drills again, which is a great sign. But it would be surprising if he played in the first few weeks of the season. Presumptive starter Isaac Redman, meanwhile, isn't feeling 100 percent after taking an MRI on his hip.
"I'm a downhill runner and take a lot of pounding," Redman said. "I'm not really sure how the hip is going to hold up or if it's going to hurt at all, or if I'm going to be fine. I'm just going to go day to day and see how it feels. It's pretty much a pain-tolerance thing. It might nag me throughout the year. I'm just going to have to fight through the pain."
Jonathan Dwyer will start Thursday's preseason finale against the Panthers. Starter Issac Redman will be held out due to a mild ankle sprain. Through the preseason Dwyer has averaged a healthy 5.9 yards per carry. Now he gets a chance to put some more pressure on the unimpressive Redman. Related: Isaac Redman Source: Beaver County Times Aug 29 - 9:49 AM
Dwyer looked reasonably good in week 4 adding to the pain for those of us who drafted Mendy and Redman. I thought I was being smart filling my RB2 slot in the later rounds by taking Redman and then Mendenhall but now had to add Dwyer meaning I am using 3 roster spots for an RB2. Not good. Hopefully Mendenhall comes back by week 5 and I can at least get rid of Dwyer.
I have Mendy on both of the leagues that I have already drafted for, but I decided I couldn't use two roster spots on handcuffs. What I have decided is that I can afford to sacrifice one roster spot and hold Mendy and if by week five or six he isn't back and performing at least somewhat well then I am dropping him to look for someone who can help me make a playoff run, if he is back and performing well then he will be that extra push for me going into the playoffs.
I make the playoffs in nearly 100% of my leagues so, even at the draft, I'm looking for players that will help win the championship. Mendenhall as flex or RB2 fits in that category. Biggest problem with the Mendy/Redman/Dwyer situation is tying up the roster spots until at least week 4 or 5.
So, what's going on with Mendenhall? Did he visit a faith healer or a miracle doctor? He took his knee brace off today and practiced for the second day in a row. This is a startling development. Could he actually be thinking about playing this week?
From Rotoworld: "Rashard Mendenhall (knee) was a full participant in Wednesday's practice. Mendenhall reportedly wasn't even sporting a brace. The Steelers are going to great lengths to make it appear as if Mendenhall has a shot at suiting up in Sunday's opener, but it's still hard to believe he'll be ready after receiving zero preseason reps. It's likely just a bit of gamesmanship on the Steelers' behalf, but things will get more interesting if Mendenhall is a "full" participant each of the next two days. Regardless of whatever the Steelers claim Mendenhall's status is, he's far too risky of a fantasy play for Week 1, especially since Pittsburgh is playing in the Sunday night game."
Healing Mendenhall impresses in practice By Mark Kaboly Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012, 12:01 a.m. Updated 24 hours ago
Rashard Mendenhall might not make his season debut Sunday against Oakland, but teammates say it’s not because he isn’t ready.
Following the first practice in which coach Mike Tomlin permitted the defense to “thud-up” Mendenhall and his surgically repaired knee, teammates were impressed with what they saw from the mending running back.
“He made a cut on the back side of a zone (blocking scheme) and just took off,” guard Willie Colon said. “It kind of reminded me of the old Rashard. He actually looked more explosive. He looked fast. Everything I saw was a good sign.”
Mendenhall has been practicing in full for the past couple of weeks while gradually adding more to his rehabilitation. Mendenhall stepped up his practice preparation recently to where fellow running back Isaac Redman said he believes it is only a matter of time before Mendenhall is on the field on game days.
“He looked excellent out there,” Redman said. “He is cutting, he is making reads, and he got the burst back.”
But will that be enough for Mendenhall to get on the field for the first time since tearing his ACL on New Year’s Day?
Steelers: Mendenhall expected to return Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles October 1, 2012 12:11 am By Paul Zeise / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Steelers are very un-Steeler like when it comes to running the football these days, but, perhaps, help is on the way. Rashard Mendenhall is expected to make his debut Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles at Heinz Field.
Mendenhall, who posted two 1,000-yard rushing seasons in the past three years, missed the first three games of the regular season while recovering from mid-January ACL surgery, and, without him, the Steelers running game has struggled.
That running game is ranked 30th among 32 NFL teams. Mendenhall likely will bring a little more explosiveness to the position than Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer.
"I'm really just waiting on my opportunity," Mendenhall said. "I just want to continue to work and, as we as an offense sort of form ourselves and bring the pieces together, I want to bring whatever piece I bring.
"But we struggled as a running game early in the season last year, and that's part of it. We just want to continue to grow and, as long as we get better and not worse, that's what we want to do. But we see it from a different light -- we see how close we are [to breaking out] so we just will keep working."
The sentiment that the Steelers running game is "close" rings true with offensive coordinator Todd Haley, too.