Isaac Redman has always held a curious position in the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ backfield. Many used to call for him to get more carries or take a featured back role, and that luster has since vanished due to his paltry 3.7 yards per carry in 2012.
Redman has always been an underrated back that does a little bit of everything and does it well. The combination of tough-running, savvy blocking and ability to catch out of the backfield have helped him lead the Steelers’ backfield in Pro Football Focus grading two years running.
However, he’s just not a featured back that could hit 1,000 yards with any sort of ease. And he never has. This is why his current role in a crowded backfield is perfect, working in alongside rookie second-rounder Le’Veon Bell along with incumbent Jonathan Dwyer.
“Every year there is competition,” Redman said, via the team website. “Each year they bring in new guys at each position. You just have to be ready. I plan on coming in to training camp 10 pounds lighter and am working on getting faster. I have already worked with a speed coach and my goal is to get faster. … We want to get back to running the football at a high level. Last year we fell short of that. Hopefully with the addition of Le’Veon we can get this show on the road.”
Redman isn’t your prototypical third-down back and his 2012 campaign pales in comparison to his 2011, but I’m sure the Steelers will find use for Redman in passing situations to both protect Ben Roethlisberger and provide a mild run threat. This offense is probably itching to put 2012 and Big Ben’s injury-destroyed year behind them.
“I was disappointed individually, struggling with injuries,” Redman said. “We had our spurts. We had a couple of games where we looked great and a couple where we looked awful. We need to be more consistent. … I can’t say what we should do as far as the offense, but we have implemented the running backs into the passing game a lot more under Coach (Todd) Haley.”