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Thread: Mendenhall left out on key drive

      
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    Default Mendenhall left out on key drive

    Duane Rankin: Mendenhall left out on key drive

    PUBLISHED: DECEMBER 21. 2010 2:00AM



    With two minutes left, Rashard Mendenhall and I shouldn't have had the same view of the game Sunday.

    Down 22-17 to the New York Jets, the Pittsburgh Steelers were on their final drive and had their 1,000-yard rusher watching from the sidelines.

    Standing on the field, I look to my left and see No. 34 bouncing on the white chalk.

    Why, you might ask? I did.

    "I trust, and as a team we trust the guys in those situations in the two-minute offense," Mendenhall said. "Mewelde (Moore), that's his specialty. He does that (along with) Isaac Redman."

    OK. Team guy. I get it.

    "Being the lead dog on first and second down, I play a lot of plays," Mendenhall continued. "To have a chance to step out and have those guys, they've come through and are very productive. We're confident in whoever is out there."

    I'm shaking my head now.

    Mendenhall rushed for 100 yards Sunday, but only carried the ball 17 times. He obviously was in the game for more than just those 17 plays, but at age 23, he could have mustered up enough energy on that final drive instead of wasting it on the sideline.

    With his size and speed, Mendenhall can turn a short swing pass into a long gain.

    The Jets were playing prevent defense, tailor-made for a halfback to cut up like scissors.

    There was a time when the starting halfback didn't leave the field, especially in crunch time. Now we have all these third-down backs who come in on the most critical play of an offensive series.

    Something is very wrong with that picture.

    Now, Moore and Redman have made key plays this season. Redman's game-winning touchdown catch in Pittsburgh's 13-10 victory at Baltimore put the Steelers in the position to win the AFC North and get a first-round bye in the playoffs.

    So he and Moore are key guys, but Mendenhall should have been in down the stretch Sunday.

    I know Jets veteran defensive end Jason Taylor is strong and savvy, but I got a hunch he wouldn't have slammed Mendenhall in the end zone for a safety like he did Moore with 2 minutes, 45 seconds left in the game.

    Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said his team didn't correctly block the first-and-10 play from its 3-yard line.

    Taylor said he anticipated it a little bit, but also that, "I was lucky that time."

    The safety put the Jets ahead by five so the Steelers had to go for a touchdown to win on that final drive rather than a field goal to tie and force overtime on their home field.

    "I felt like that was a play we could have gotten in the end zone with and it didn't happen," Mendenhall said.

    The best chance of that play going for six was to give Mendenhall, not Moore, the ball on a draw handoff out of the shotgun.

    So as much as I'm piling on Mendenhall, Tomlin and his coaching staff deserve the blame because they should either, one, have him in the game or, two, develop his game to the point where they trust him to be on the field for the two-minute offense.

    As much as the third-down back has evolved into a key position, the concept is keeping the team's best players off the field.

    In 2009, the Minnesota Vikings were down 20-17 at Pittsburgh with two minutes left in the game. Brett Favre dumped the ball to Adrian Peterson and he turned the short pass into a 29-yard again.

    The Vikings subbed in one of those third-down backs, Chester Taylor, for Peterson, who is arguably the best back in the NFL.

    Next play, Favre hits Taylor for seven yards.

    Peterson is still on the sidelines.

    Next play, Favre went to Taylor again, but this time Taylor couldn't hold on to the pass, and that's not the worst of it.

    Pittsburgh linebacker Keyaron Fox intercepted the Favre pass that deflected off Taylor's hands and went 82 yards for a touchdown.

    When the game is in the balance, keep the featured backs in and let the subs and reporters watch the game from the sidelines.

    http://www.goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/...2219950/-1/RSS

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    Default Re: Mendenhall left out on key drive

    This rasies a good question...

    Mendenhall is a decent catching back yet they don't use him in those situations. That's an Arians flaw there but also some of Ben as well since both don't like to throw short if they don't have to. We used to think "well, Jerome and Willie, they can't catch, that's why we don't throw to the rb exceopt our 3rd down back on 3rd downs" BUt they don't throw to Mendenhall either. He could be even more dangerous if he was used more like Ray Rice or LT. not to that extent but involved more in the passing game like this guys.

    Arians and Ben since he fully supports Arians and they craft the offensive philosophy together really don't like to work the strategic part of the game. for example ... run and dump short to open up the long ball, one on one stuff for Wallace or work a couple of deep ones to open up the line for some runs or short balls to the RB, TE, Slot WR. There's never really a strategy to the offense which is fine when moving the ball to the 40-redzone but it's that lack of strategy IMO that prevents this offense from scoring points that match their yardage output
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    Default Re: Mendenhall left out on key drive

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    This rasies a good question...

    Mendenhall is a decent catching back yet they don't use him in those situations. That's an Arians flaw there but also some of Ben as well since both don't like to throw short if they don't have to. We used to think "well, Jerome and Willie, they can't catch, that's why we don't throw to the rb exceopt our 3rd down back on 3rd downs" BUt they don't throw to Mendenhall either. He could be even more dangerous if he was used more like Ray Rice or LT. not to that extent but involved more in the passing game like this guys.

    Arians and Ben since he fully supports Arians and they craft the offensive philosophy together really don't like to work the strategic part of the game. for example ... run and dump short to open up the long ball, one on one stuff for Wallace or work a couple of deep ones to open up the line for some runs or short balls to the RB, TE, Slot WR. There's never really a strategy to the offense which is fine when moving the ball to the 40-redzone but it's that lack of strategy IMO that prevents this offense from scoring points that match their yardage output
    We could very easily be 8-8 and looking up at the ravens. Why Mendy is not in the game on the final drive I'll never know. I get very tired of Moore going down on 1st contact we need to replace him with Redman. If that is more on the final play against ravens @ ravens game we dont get that TD but redman breaks tackles. IMO if we manage to win 1 game in the playoffs we are done. Very similar to 07 IMO.

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