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Steelers Blog

Allen making a difference

Posted by Teresa Varley on September 28, 2012 – 11:00 am

When Will Allen set out to make a difference in the lives of young adults with his Quest for Real Life Success program in 2008, he probably never realized the impact he actually could have.

Allen initially launched the Quest program in Tampa, Florida when he played for the Buccaneers, working with students at King High School and Brooks-DeBartolo Collegiate High School.

When he signed with the Steelers in 2010, he didn’t just bring his football talents with him, but also the program kicking it off at Westinghouse High School and this season taking it to North Hills High School in Pittsburgh and expanding to his alma mater, Wayne High School in Dayton, Ohio.

The after school mentoring program meets weekly, with Allen attending the North Hills meetings and using Skype to communicate with students in Dayton, to discuss topics to help them prepare for life after high school. The focus ranges from test taking skills, resume writing, job interview skills and more.

“I wanted to do something to help them be more proactive about their futures, to help them think outside the box and thinking more about being a young professional going into college,” said Allen. “I wanted to bridge the gap going from high school to college so they can be better decision makers, be more cognizant of opportunities and tools and resources that are available.

“A lot of high school kids might go through school and be a straight ‘A’ student, but they might not know about real life situations. Or there might be a student who does know about real life situations, but doesn’t know any tools or resources available to get advancement in life.”

The Quest program is a part of the Will Allen Foundation and also stresses the importance of community service, making sure students are well-rounded when they hit the real world.

“We have students now that graduated from college,” said Allen. “They were enthused and excited about what they learned and how they were able to utilize it in college and beyond. It’s just a way of giving wisdom, knowledge and understanding of situations to help out the youth of today for tomorrow.”

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This Week’s Youth Football MVP

Posted by Teresa Varley on September 28, 2012 – 10:00 am

Congratulations to Wilkensburg’s Kenny Martin, the winner of the McDonald’s Youth Football In Steelers Country MVP Award this week.

If you know someone in the Western Pennsylvania area who is involved in youth football and is deserving of the award, please share their information by commenting below.

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Several former Steelers Hall of Fame nominees

Posted by Teresa Varley on September 27, 2012 – 3:23 pm

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced their candidates for the Class of 2013, and among the 127 nominees are eight with ties to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Included in the group are running back Jerome Bettis and linebacker Kevin Greene, both who were finalists in 2012. Also nominated are former Coach Bill Cowher, center Jeff Hartings, kicker Gary Anderson, defensive coordinator Bud Carson,  and Art Rooney, Jr., the team’s director of player personnel during the 1970s when the team won four Super Bowl championships.

Also nominated is Buddy Parker, who coached the Steelers from 1957-64 and also coached the Chicago Cardinals and Detroit Lions. 

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee will narrow the list to 25 semifinalists, to be announced in late November. That list will be narrowed down to 15 modern-era finalists in early January.

The Class of 2012 will be announced on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, the day before Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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A time to heal for several Steelers

Posted by Teresa Varley on September 26, 2012 – 9:16 pm

Steelers’ players have the next four days off for their bye week, giving several who are ailing a chance to get healthy. Among those the team hopes to get back on the field after the bye are linebacker James Harrison, safety Troy Polamalu and running back Rashard Mendenhall.

“It would help,” said linebacker LaMarr Woodley, speaking about Harrison and Polamalu. “Those are our key guys. That makes a big difference for the defense.  Having them back will be great for our defense.  The bye week is always great. Having a few injuries, Troy and James, gives guys time to heal up and rest and come back and play.”

Harrison was on the field for the first time on Tuesday, but didn’t participate on Wednesday. Polamalu worked on both days.

While both players are expected to make an impact upon their return whenever that might be, their teammates also know they can’t depend solely on them to turn things around defensively.

“We have to get them back out there,” said safety Ryan Clark. “But I don’t think it’s fair to put that much pressure on those guys to say you are why we are not playing well. You can’t say the standard is the standard and say we aren’t playing well because they aren’t there. You can’t do that. The guys who are on the field need to perform.”

Mendenhall has been practicing regularly, even getting more physical contact for the first time last week. With the running game not getting in gear yet, having him back soon would be a welcome addition.

“Rashard is one of the best in the league,” said wide receiver Mike Wallace. “When you get a guy back like that who is very explosive, has really good feet, a lot of vision, it’s going to boost our team.”

The Steelers take on the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 7 at Heinz Field and getting any or all three of the injured players back for that game is something teammates are hoping for.

“You get a player like Rashard back, James and Troy and that will provide us a spark,” said wide receiver Antonio Brown. “They are key factors on our team and provide us an opportunity to win games. It will be great to have them back and this gives them time to recover.”

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Timing is right for bye

Posted by Teresa Varley on September 26, 2012 – 8:12 pm

When most of the Steelers’ players looked at the timing of their bye week, coming after just three games, they had some reservations about it being a good time or not. But now that it is here, the timing is just about right.

“At first when I looked at the schedule I thought it was early,” said running back Isaac Redman. “But we are pretty banged up. It will be good to have this week off and get everyone back for the Eagles game.”

It’s a perfect time for players to heal physically, but to also think about things and what they can do to get back in the win column.

“I think we need the time to evaluate ourselves mentally,” said linebacker Larry Foote. “We need to get away and individually we need some soul searching, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Guys need to pick it up, look at themselves in the mirror and see what we can do.”

Foote expects everyone to come back after the bye recharged and ready to turn things around starting Oct. 7 against the Eagles. 

“We have had bad games, but not this early in the season, especially the last game when the offense was on fire and we couldn’t get off the field,” said Foote. “I trust these guys will get it right. I know the character of the guys and the coaches that we will get it corrected.”

He isn’t the only one who feels that way. Receiver Antonio Brown knows it’s frustrating going into the bye weekend with a losing record, but knows the team has the heart and talent to change that.

“We will pick it up,” said Brown. “We are going to get better. We will get guys back after the bye week.

“We are 1-2 and that is not where we wanted to start, but we still have a positive outlook and I think we will be fine.”

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It’s a family affair during bye week

Posted by Teresa Varley on September 26, 2012 – 8:10 pm

With a few days off this weekend some players will be heading to see their college teams play, others getting some much needed rest and some just going away to visit family for a few days.

And for a few others, it will be all about family this weekend.

“I am just going to be a dad and a husband,” said safety Ryan Clark. “That is the only plan. I am going to go to cheer competitions, soccer game, and a football game. Other than that I don’t have anything planned.

“Your priorities change as you get older. I just want to relax, do some treatments, training and hang out with the babies when they got off of school.”

Ike Taylor is looking forward to seeing his son Ivan play t-ball this weekend.  


“I am going to spend time with my son and the family,” said Taylor. “He is playing t-ball so I can see him play. I am very excited. I hear how good he is, he has good hand eye coordination and confidence. I can’t wait to see him.”

For Larry Foote, it’s going to be whatever his wife tells him that he does.

“It’s all family,” said Foote. “My wife makes those decisions. She started setting it up early this week. I will watch a little bit of football, sleep and watch football, but it’s about my wife and kids.”

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Ben uses signals to stay on same page with receivers

Posted by Teresa Varley on September 25, 2012 – 7:57 pm

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger raised some eyebrows after the Raiders game when he said he used plays from the team’s old playbook in Sunday’s game. But on Tuesday he clarified his comments.

“I probably didn’t speak clearly enough,” said Roethlisberger. “It wasn’t necessarily that I called plays as much as I used hand signals. I didn’t think it was going to get blown up as much as it did.

“I know there are some people out there that are saying I’m resistant to Todd (Haley). It’s one of those things that we went to Todd and it’s in the playbook now.”

Roethlisberger said he used the hand signals twice during the game, once on a completion to Mike Wallace and the other on a pass to Emmanuel Sanders.

“We converted on both plays so they worked out,” said Roethlisberger. “The point of me saying that, the question we were talking about was how everybody was on the same page, and to me using signals that we’ve had for a long time and that aren’t necessarily in the offense helped and now they are because they worked. It’s just good that we’re on the same page. That’s all.”

Roethlisberger added that had he gone to Haley before the game about adding the hand signals he thinks he would have been receptive, but didn’t because it wasn’t an issue before that.

“The situation never arose so we never even thought about it until it happened in the game,” said Roethlisberger. “It’s not like I was going against Coach Haley, or the offense, or the playbook, or anything like that or resistant to change. It was just a simple little hand signal.”

With Roethlisberger and the receivers still picking up some of the offensive language, having the use of the hand signals is something Roethlisberger thinks can only help them.

“Not only do we have to learn new words but we have to put hand signals with everything too,” said Roethlisberger. “That’s been tricky but I think we’ve done a good job and you’ve got to give credit to the wide receivers because they’re the ones that have to learn all of that stuff as well. Like I said, that’s where we reverted to using signals because we all know them and we’ve known them for such a long time that we used them on two different occasions and it worked.”

Roethlisberger also talked about some other topics on Tuesday, including the no-huddle offense. The following is more of what he had to say.

Did you envision this much success with the no-huddle offense?
We worked very hard at it. We put a lot of extra work in, myself, the receivers, tight ends, the offensive line and the coaches. We were asking questions and getting answers. I think it’s all of our hard work paying off.

Re: Pushing the ball down the field in the no-huddle:
We still have opportunities to do that. It’s just we feel like they’ve been taking it away. We called a couple deep passes, and whether it was they just happened to be in the right defense or they doubled our guy, whatever it is, but we have still have some options and some opportunities to go deep.

Do you have the same number of deep passes in this offense as you did in the old one?
Maybe not quite as many, but there’s still a few. I don’t know the exact number on that but it’s pretty close.

Was there a misconception that the offense was just going to run the ball all of the time?
I think Coach Haley uses what he has. In Arizona he had some great wide receiver weapons and Kurt Warner was a great quarterback. In Kansas City, he had Jamaal Charles and a good running game and things like that. I think he just utilizes the weapons that he has.

Re: The style of this offense:
We’ve got some pretty good weapons in the passing game. Everyone wants us to run for 100 yards per game or 200 yards per game. We were pretty efficient when we ran the ball last week but we threw the ball because we could. We had a lot of success throwing it so why not do it? We’re not going to run the ball just because we’re “supposed to run the ball” whether it works or doesn’t. We’re going to do what we’re doing well and things that could help us win the game and that was throwing the ball.

Is the running game close to breaking through?
I think so. It’s hard for me because I don’t know the ins and the outs of the blocking schemes and the things that Coach (Sean) Kugler and the line would probably know. I don’t sit back there when I’m calling no-huddle and shy away from a run play because I feel like we can’t run the ball. I’m going to call the run play or the best play for that situation, if it’s a run or a pass or whatever it is. I’m not shying away from any runs because I feel like we’re pretty efficient when we need to be.

Re: High-scoring offenses:
Well you’ve got to score points and that’s key because everyone is scoring a lot of points nowadays. You have to be able to score points and if you can do it running the ball then you run the ball. You have to have a good balance and we have to stay balanced.

Re: The impact of Rashard Mendenhall returning to the offense:
I think it will help if he comes back. He’s a great running back. He’s rushed for a lot of yards but I don’t want to sit here and say that he’s going to be the answer because I don’t want to take anything away from the guys that have been running the ball so far and putting in a lot of hard work. It’s going to be great to have another guy back there to relieve some of the runs and see what he can do.

Have opposing defenses made the offense one dimensional?
I feel like we’ve got a lot of weapons and you can have run game alternatives, quick screens, quick passes, things like that that pick up four, five, six, seven yards. Those can be alternatives. If you’re not able to run the ball, you’ve got to find ways to possess it. For not being able to run the ball, we’ve possessed the ball a lot and we’ve converted a lot of third downs. We’ve kept our defense off the field, which is always a goal of ours to let our defense rest as much as possible. We have to keep possessing it, not turning it over, and that’s big for me, is not to turn the ball over. We have to just keep trying to find ways to win games.

Are you being blitzed more?
Sometimes, but we’ve been able to beat them on some blitzes so it’s backing people off. The last two teams we’ve played have had some cornerback issues and they’ve played a little bit more zone. I think they’re nervous with our guys out there and they don’t want to play man. I think this coming week against Philadelphia, we’ll see some more man options because of those guys.

Are you feeling a lot of pressure to score more since the defense has been struggling?
We’ve said for the longest time that we want to score as many points as we can. I want to score in the 30’s every game. To me, that makes us a great offense. It keeps our defense off the field and let’s them rest so that when they come out they’re fresh and ready to go. We want to score as many points as possible. My goal as a quarterback is to be in the 30’s.

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Steelers Huddle Guests – 9-26

Posted by Teresa Varley on September 25, 2012 – 2:19 pm

Steelers Huddle

The Steelers Huddle Show will air on KDKA-TV on Saturday’s at 11:35 p.m.

Show tapes at Heinz Field and is hosted by KDKA’s Bob Pompeani with a special Steelers gues each week.

There is a $5 admission charge. Parking is available in the Stage AE Parking Lot for $5.

6:30 PM – Doors Open

7:30 PM -Show Taping Begins  

The first four weeks taping is in the FedEx Great Hall and then moves to the East Club Lounge the last four weeks.

Taping Schedule 

Wed., Sept. 12 – Steve McLendon and Heath Miller (FedEx Great Hall)

Wed., Sept. 26 – Brett Keisel and Maurkice Pouncey (FedEx Great Hall)

Wed., Oct. 9 –     (FedEx Great Hall)
Thurs., Oct. 24 –  (FedEx Great Hall)
Wed., Nov. 7 –   (East Club Lounge)

Wed., Nov. 21 –  (East Club Lounge)
Tues., Dec. 5 –    (East Club Lounge)

Wed., Dec. 19 –   (East Club Lounge)

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Steelers notes for bye week

Posted by Teresa Varley on September 25, 2012 – 12:26 pm

Check out the Steelers notes for the Bye Week.

Steelers Game Notes

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Not up to their standard

Posted by Teresa Varley on September 24, 2012 – 4:55 pm

Linebacker LaMarr Woodley knows what is expected from the Steelers defense, and he knows giving up 34 points – especially when the offense puts 31 points on the board – isn’t what the standard is.

“I know when our offense goes out there and puts that many points on the board they’re giving us an opportunity to win the game,” said Woodley. “It’s our responsibility on the defense to go out there and shut teams down, and we didn’t do that.”

Defensive end Brett Keisel echoed those thoughts following the Steelers 34-31 loss to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, which dropped the Steelers to 1-2 on the season.

“If an offense scores 31 points you should win the game,” said Keisel. “We have to do better on defense to keep people out of the end zone.”

This loss will sit with the players a little longer than normal as they have their bye this weekend, before taking on the Philadelphia Eagles at Heinz Field on Oct. 7.

“We’ve got to chew on that,” said Keisel. “We’ve got to chew on it for two weeks. We’ve got to get better in a lot of areas on defense. I’ve got to get better. We’ll do that.”

At the same time, the bye could be an advantage, allowing the Steelers to get some players back, including safety Troy Polamalu and linebackers James Harrison and Stevenson Sylvester.

 “We’ve got an opportunity to go into this bye week, have everybody rest up a bit, and come out and get ready to play some more football,” said Woodley.

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Woodley launches his foundation

Posted by Teresa Varley on September 24, 2012 – 4:30 pm

Linebacker LaMarr Woodley has been giving back to the community in Pittsburgh and his hometown of Saginaw, Michigan since his rookie season, but he took it to a new level with the launch of the LaMarr Woodley Foundation on Monday.

The foundation has been established to provide underprivileged and underserved youth and adults, through a wide variety of services.

Woodley is committed to educational endeavors for youth, with after school, reading, D.A.R.E, scholarship and college prep programs. In addition Woodley is providing services for adults that include life skills, money management, parenting, office skills and technology training.   

“I’ve been doing work in the community since I was at the University of Michigan,” said Woodley. “Last year, I realized that I wanted to be able to create my own foundation, in order to establish long-term programs that would have an even greater impact on changing people’s lives for the better.”

Woodley recently kicked off his Sack Attack, donating $500 for each sack this season to All Stars Helping Kids; the Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania and Prevent Another Crime Today (PACT). During training camp he donated $60,000 to Saginaw Public Schools, allowing all students to participate in sports without having to pay a fee.

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KidZone Show Guests – Sept. 25

Posted by Teresa Varley on September 24, 2012 – 4:00 pm

Show taping takes place at Heinz Field in the FedEx Great Hall

Doors Open at 5:30 p.m., show taping begins at 6:30 p.m. 

Kids under age 12 are free, all others $5.00.

Two shows are taped per night. Parking available in lot Gold 1A.

The McDonald Steelers KidZONE Show airs Sunday mornings 
at 10:30 A.M. on The Pittsburgh CW.

Show begins airing on Sunday, Sept. 16 through Sunday, Dec. 30

Once guests are known for each show we will publish them on this page.

 Taping Dates

Tuesday, September 4 – Jerricho Cotchery and Ryan Mundy  
Tuesday, September 11 – Baron Batch and Cortez Allen
Tuesday, September 18 – Jonathan Dwyer and Chris Carter
Tuesday, September 25 – Ramon Foster and Willie Colon  
Tuesday, October 2 –  
Tuesday, October 16 – 
Tuesday, October 23 –

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Coach Mike Tomlin post-game vs. Raiders

Posted by Teresa Varley on September 23, 2012 – 8:43 pm

Opening Comment: That was a poor performance by us. When you play like that you lose football games. Not enough stops on defense. We turned the ball over on offense. We gave up a big return or two which provided field position, a shot in the arm in the kicking game and allowed them to respond to some scores.  I would like to tip my hat to the Oakland Raiders. They played winning ball. That is not the style of ball that we desire to play. You are going to lose when you play like that, as we did today. We have got to chew on this one for a while, obviously. It’s not going to go down easy, as it should not go down easy. It won’t define us. We’ll go back to work. We’ll continue to search for areas of improvement, which are many.

Did you intend to go for it all along on fourth down?
I intended to go all along. I wasn’t going to punt the football to them. We hadn’t stopped them enough in the second half to do that. It was inside of one. If you can’t get inside of one you deserve to lose games. I won’t hesitate to do that.

Was there any reason you weren’t able to stop them defensively or was it lack of execution?
Not very good execution by us, but at the same token you tip your hat to them because they did execute in critical moments and made the necessary plays. I don’t want to take anything away from them, but obviously we expect more and better from ourselves.

Did you ever think about slowing down the pace in the fourth quarter?
I wasn’t concerned about the pace; I was concerned about our quality of play and our ability to maintain possession of the ball. We turned the ball over some and that was a defining factor for us at least offensively.

Antonio Brown had a couple of drops and one got away. Your thoughts on that with the game he had?
We turned the ball over. We can’t do that, not only him but us collectively. He wasn’t the only one.

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Steelers cooking for a cause

Posted by Teresa Varley on September 21, 2012 – 4:50 pm

Several Steelers’ players were cooking up a storm on Friday, not to feed their teammates, but instead to help women who are either in treatment for breast cancer or are survivors so they can learn more about the importance of proper nutrition as a part of their treatment.

Tackle Max Starks and linebackers Chris Carter and Marshall McFadden helped prepare a meal at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC’s “Cooking and Eating for a Healthy Life” class.

“It means a lot to be here,” said McFadden, who was first up making a pan seared chicken panini. “It’s great to come out in the community and show love and your sense of humor so hopefully you can make them feel better. Plus, football players are competitive so you give them any kind of task and they think they can do it. It’s fun going up there and showing I have a mixture of skills.”

Carter’s cousin and aunt and Starks’ mom are breast cancer survivors, so taking part in the class was special for them as well.

“It means everything to me because my family that experienced this is very close to me,” said Carter. “They have been there for me and for me to support something that affects them means a great deal. I am in a position where I can affect others in a positive manner, so why not take advantage of it.”

The players also prepared pumpkin chili and quinoa pudding with pistachio, pears and dark chocolate, all which they served to the ladies after making it.

“The patients idolize the Steelers,” said Judy Herstine, administrator of women’s cancer services at Magee Womens Hospital. “Nutrition is important to everyone and they can show with humor that you can make nutritious, healthy meals with fresh ingredients quickly. It’s great, the patients love it and I think the Steelers enjoy as well.”

The Steelers will celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month when they host the Philadelphia Eagles at Heinz Field on Oct. 7 and the most noticeable aspect will be players wearing pink apparel, from sideline hats, to shoes, chinstraps and more.
“It’s important to promote early detection, making sure you take care of yourself and knowing the proper steps if you do find something,” said Starks. “I am glad the NFL takes this initiative. I look forward to wearing the pink stuff during October to show my support for everyone, more so my mom.

“It’s important to give back. My mother is now 21 years in remission and she is still around because people cared to help her through the process so it’s my duty to give back.”

The group all took part in a pink Terrible Towel twirl after the class ended, which was special for Elissa Ashwood of Pittsburgh who was diagnosed with breast cancer in January.

“It was moving to hear the players talk about their personal relationship with cancer,” said Ashwood. “You forget how many people are affected. It’s nice to know they are doing something positive.

“Support means everything. That is why we are wearing our Steelers stuff, because we support them. To feel like our favorite sports team is supporting us is awesome.”

* * *   

In support of the NFL’s Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign in partnership with the American Cancer Society, the Steelers will recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month during the team’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 7. The 2012 campaign, A Crucial Catch: Annual Screening Saves Lives, is targeted at encouraging annual mammograms for women over 40.

The Steelers will be selling breast cancer awareness merchandise at the game and through the team’s online store. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to breast cancer research. 

Breast Cancer Awareness elements will be seen throughout Heinz Field, including special game balls with pink ribbons, pink coins for the coin toss, pink apparel worn by players including cleats, wristbands, gloves, sideline caps, chin straps and quarterback towels. In addition coaches and sideline personnel will wear special hats.

Breast cancer survivors will be honored at the game and every fan entering Heinz Field for the game will receive a pink Terrible Towel, sponsored by Ford and UPMC Cancer Centers.

Ford and UPMC Cancer Centers will also be presenting a check to the Susan G. Komen Pittsburgh Affiliate.

On Saturday, October 6th the Steelers will be a sponsor of the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, starting at the North Shore Riverfront Park across from Heinz Field.  Individuals can take part by calling 1-800-881-2345 for more information.

Heath and Katie Miller will host Bid For Hope XI on Monday, October 29 as they raise money and awareness to fight breast cancer through the Glimmer of Hope Foundation. For more information visit Bid For Hope.

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Steelers Friday Injury Update

Posted by Teresa Varley on September 21, 2012 – 1:11 pm

The Steelers Friday injury update:

Out: LB James Harrison (knee), RB Rashard Mendenhall (knee), S Troy Polamalu (calf), LB Stevenson Sylvester (knee)

Questionable: T Mike Adams (back)

Probable: RB Jonathan Dwyer (toe), T Marcus Gilbert (groin), QB Byron Leftwich (illness), TE Heath Miller (abdomen), WR Emmanuel Sanders (knee), WR Mike Wallace (groin)

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Ground game ready to start clicking

Posted by Teresa Varley on September 20, 2012 – 6:50 pm

Coach Mike Tomlin made it no secret earlier this week that the Steelers running game is not where he expects it to be, with only 54 rushes for 141 yards, a 2.6-yard average per carry, through two games this season.

“We haven’t run the ball as well as we have liked,” said Tomlin. “I’m not interested in assigning blame in that regard. I will take responsibility for it.

“The reality is we’ve got room for growth. We need to tighten up our menu and lean on the things we are doing well. We need to block better and put the ball where it needs to be on a more consistent basis.”

He isn’t the only who would like to see things get in gear this week against the Oakland Raiders, especially playing on the road in a hostile environment.

“On the road the defense is going to feed off the crowd, by running the ball you get the defense tired, you take the emotions out of the game from their standpoint,” said running back Jonathan Dwyer. “The run game opens up an aspect of the passing game, our play action, with the receivers we have and Ben (Roethlisberger). It opens everything up and establishes our tempo as a team and shows what we are about.

While it’s still early in the season, quickly establishing a balance between the running the ball and passing it is a key for the offense, as teams will soon focus in on shutting the passing game down if the run doesn’t get going.

“I think it’s important for our offense to stay two dimensional,” said tackle Max Starks. “You don’t want to become a team that can’t run the ball and has to pass it and you become predicable. Teams then line up and try to blitz you and twist and stunt you to death because they know you are in passing situations more often than not. It’s important to have a balanced run attack so it frees up options for not only drop back passes, but for your play action game, screen plays, and draws.

“It’s very important. It’s something we have to work on and get better at.”

Dwyer thinks the issues with the running game are things that are an easy fix, most of it coming from within.

“It’s nothing huge, just minor details, everybody being on the same page, making no mistakes, no penalties to hurt us,” said Dwyer. “We have a great offensive line. There is no drop off on the depth chart. The only thing that can beat us is ourselves. I think we can play against any team and what they throw at us. It’s about being consistent and not beating up on ourselves.

“We have to do the little things, not jumping offside, eliminate the holds, and be on the same page. We are doing that every day and getting better. By us feeding off each other we can be a very dangerous team in the run game.”

Another thing that could aid the ground game is doing what Tomlin said about sticking with what is working.

“That is what they said we are going to do,” said running back Isaac Redman. “Instead of having a whole bunch of runs we are making the playbook smaller with the runs and run what we are good at.”

The team has been without Rashard Mendenhall the first two weeks of the season, but he began taking contact in practice on Wednesday. His return to the field, whenever it might be, will be valuable and he looks forward to adjusting to his role in Todd Haley’s offense.

“It’s still early and we’re still developing our identity on offense,” said Mendenhall. “We’re just preparing, and whenever I get back, whatever my role is, I’m preparing for that.

“I feel like my style varies as well. I’m just preparing myself for whenever I step out there, whatever I’m called to do and being able to do it.”

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