In the first two games of the season, the offense of the Pittsburgh Steelers has been noticeably one-sided. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley has relied on the arm of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger mainly because of the offense’s inability to run the ball.
As a team, Pittsburgh has only a total of 141 rushing yards on 54 carries in the first two games (which is an average of 2.6 yards per carry). In contrast, Roethlisberger has significantly more passing attempts, amassing 520 yards while completing 46 of 71 throws.
Running backs Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer have showed some signs of life late in last week’s game versus the New York Jets, and hope to build on that when they will have to run against an Oakland Raiders team that are allowing an average of 147.5 rushing yards per game (currently 29th in the NFL).
However, even with the injury to running back Rashard Mendenhall, no one could have predicted that Pittsburgh’s running attack would have been this ineffective.
I believe that the inconsistency in the ground attack is due to the offensive line still trying to gel. Of course, the preseason injury to rookie guard David DeCastro has played a major part in the problems the o-line. In addition, Willie Colon’s adjustment from right tackle to left guard plays a vital part as well.
As the Steelers’ running game continues to struggle, all eyes are still on Mendenhall. Since the start of the regular season, Mendenhall has fully participated in all of Pittsburgh’s practices. Head coach Mike Tomlin mentioned that it might be time to make practices a little more physical for Mendy this week.
If you ask me, having the Raiders in Week 3 should allow Pittsburgh to have Mendenhall on the shelf for just one more week. Both Redman and Dwyer should have productive days against the Raiders’ porous defense.
Following what should be an easy win for the Steelers, they have their bye week, which means that Mendenhall should be more than ready to contribute in the running game for the remainder of the season.
Follow me on Twitter @ClydeASpeller