Some may blame the shuffling of players on the offensive line for the Pittsburgh Steelers inconsistent running game. Others may say that the injury to rookie guard David DeCastro is the reason why Pittsburgh’s running backs haven’t affectively toted the rock in the first three weeks of the regular season. Steelers fans may even think that not having Rashard Mendenhall is the reason why Pittsburgh can’t produce on the ground.
Personally, I felt that all of the above were major reasons why Pittsburgh’s running game hasn’t flourished yet. However, after looking at the number of times quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has thrown the ball versus the number of times the Steelers have carried the ball, I can say that offensive coordinator Todd Haley is to blame for the inconsistent running game.
Since Week 1 of the 2012 NFL season, Pittsburgh has passed the ball 120 times, and ran the ball only 74 times (three of those runs were by Roethlisberger on scrambles).
Yes I believe that shifting players along the o-line does play a part in the inconsistent play, but an unbalanced offensive attack such as this one won’t give the offensive line time to gel as a unit when it comes to running the ball.
I even think that the return of Mendenhall won’t be much of a help to the running game if Haley doesn’t start having more of a balanced attack.
It seems to me that running backs Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer are the type of runners that can run better as the game goes along. In addition, the size that Pittsburgh has up front on offense will definitely benefit Pittsburgh’s running late in games.
I can say that Haley does use screens and other short passes as an extension of the running game, but defenses can quickly adjust to plays like that, and eventually an affective running game will be needed.
Haley has shown that he can use what he has on offense to the best of his ability. With the Arizona Cardinals, he had a hand in orchestrating on of the best passing games with quarterback Kurt Warner, and wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald, and Anquan Boldin. As head coach with the Kansas City Chiefs, he utilized the talents of running back Jamaal Charles, who had over 1,400 yards rushing in 2010.
In the Steel City, Haley will pretty much have the best of both worlds when Mendenhall comes back. If there is any hope for Pittsburgh’s rushing attack this season, then it has to begin with Haley and his ability to find a balance between the passing game and the running game.
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