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Steelers Blog

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.”

Posted in News, Player, Team | 7 Comments »

7 Responses to “Ground game ready to start clicking”

  1. By Alvin Shipp on Sep 20, 2012 | Reply

    This is good for the team stick to what youre doing good, but make sure everybody does theyre job. we are just fans we love our Steelert but let them worry about what needs to be done and we just set back and watch the finish product we are SPOILED out of our heads. Because all they do is WIN WIN WIN no matter what, but one thing I have to say RUNNING BACKS HIT THE HOLES HARD AND FAST!!!!!!!!!! GO STEELERS

  2. By alfred harsch on Sep 21, 2012 | Reply

    bill cower abandoned the run game with wisenhutt and tommy madox and its never been the same. its sad because i remember the days of barry foster running for over 100 in the first half of a monday night game. then bam morris going for 100 in the third quarter and the 3rd rb going for 100 in the fourth. the opponent, i believe the falcons, were absolutely beaten down. the 49rs kinda remind me of those steelers

  3. By Will Lacroix on Sep 21, 2012 | Reply

    The passing game will set-up pounding the rock, we need to be in the no-huddle and throw the ball on first down and then the running game will open up. The Steelers are now a passing team so lets take advantage of our great speed and Ben’s proven ability to hit his receivers. Our game plan is too predictable, when I see Ben under center I know it’s going to be a running play and so does the other team. Bill Cower went to the passing game because he knew Ben would get us to the promised land with his arm and he did, so let’s give our opposition something to think about, let’s play to our strengths.


  4. By Jason Debritto on Sep 21, 2012 | Reply

    The running game is fine from the RB stand point & and is only going to get better when mendenhall gets back in the fold redman & Dwyer are more than capable backs, from what I’ve seen the o-line needs to do a better job of shedding their blocks & getting to the second level, they seem to be staying on their first assignments to long which has nothing to do with capability it’s has to do with attitude the o-line needs to get more aggressive & down right nasty in the run game , smash through that first line of defense throw them down step on them & move on to the next one . Remember people these are the Pittsburg steelers &the standard is the standard &steelers football is that standard. There’s no need to question any thing the steelers are doing from a gaming stand point,technic & confidence will improve with each game, steelers wear black& gold or yellow whichever you prefer it doesn’t matter what does is that they play STEELER FOOTBALL & after 60 min their opponent wear black & blue and we win football games .. HERE WE GO STEELERS

  5. By Orrin Pruis on Sep 21, 2012 | Reply

    Here we go Steeler’s see you in Oakland. Just do it Stick too it do what work’s Pound the ball by a great run game good sound passing, just as if you were back in the 70’s and before. Long time Steeler’s fan from the west coast.HERE WE GO STEELER’S HERE WE GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Good luck fella’s have fun…………….

  6. By leopoldo on Sep 22, 2012 | Reply

    The offence line has to BLOCK BETTER than it has for the last 3 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. By Eric on Sep 22, 2012 | Reply

    the steelers have the best wide receivers corp in the league, use them. look at the last few super bowl champs. they didn’t have the best running games. win on talent lose on philosophy.

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