Redman confident he can handle full workload
Admittedly, Isaac Redman has a chip on his shoulder.
The Steelers fourth-year running back, thrust into the spotlight with Rashard Mendenhall sidelined with a torn ACL that's unlikely to mend before the regular-season opener in Denver, is itching to prove he can carry the load for a remodeled offense.
“Ever since I've been here, I've been doubted by everybody — except the players and coaches,” Redman said. “They understand the type of player I am, and it's why they've kept me around. They see something in me, so I never doubt myself.
“I'm ready to get out there. Hopefully, I'll surprise everybody.”
Redman is confident he's both durable and good enough to spearhead a ground game that sputtered for much of this past season. He wasn't spectacular, yet steady in rushing for 121 yards on 17 carries in a 29-23 playoff overtime loss in Denver.
It was a solid performance that convinced coach Mike Tomlin that Redman should be his featured back when the Steelers open training camp next month at St. Vincent College in Latrobe.
“I was ready when the playoff game came,” said Redman, who stepped into the lineup after Mendenhall's injury in the regular-season finale in Cleveland. “I prepared all year as if I was the starting running back.
“I knew I was an injury away from having to be that guy who steps up. I was ready when my number was called.”
At 6-feet, 230 pounds, the Bowie State product is strong enough physically. However, he concedes it's far more challenging to adapt mentally.
“It's a different thing when you have to be that guy week in and week out,” said Redman, who re-signed with the Steelers in April. “Your mindset has to be totally different to take more hits.”
Redman carried the ball sparingly the past two seasons. He had 162 career rushing attempts, compared to Mendenhall's 552.
Redman isn't likely to prove a thing during next week's minicamp. In reality, he may not have to, considering he's the anchor of a young running back corps, which includes Jonathan Dwyer, John Clay, Baron Batch, and rookie Chris Rainey.
“We're trying to help each other out,” Redman said. “I think I'm catching on quicker than the younger guys, so I'm trying to help them to easily understand the concepts of this offense.”
Redman, though, has stayed up nights to study a playbook drafted by first-year offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
“It's tough right now because everybody's trying to learn this playbook,” Redman said. “You can't really play as fast you would like to because we're doing a lot of thinking right now.
“It's been a learning process. By the time we get to training camp, we'll have this thing down. I want to come into camp mentally ready to play.”
Redman said the playbook is significantly different than last year's.
“It's difficult because it's new,” he said. “When we hit on all cylinders, we won't have to think about what we're doing when we break the huddle.
“I couldn't imagine going through a lockout and having to learn everything in minicamp. But having these OTAs and minicamps is the first stepping stone toward mastering this offense.”
Redman isn't sure if the Steelers will run more this season. But he's certain he'll be expected to carry the load until — or if — Mendenhall returns.
“Rashard and I really haven't spoken that much,” Redman said. “We both understand that he's working as hard as he can to get back. I'm working hard to lead this team until he gets back to 100 percent, and I don't doubt that I can.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Unsung backups provide boost for Steelers defensive line
- Steelers plan to use smart pass rush against Seattle QB Wilson
- Steelers notebook: Linebacker Timmons hoping for contract extension
- Run game needed for balance vs. Seahawks
- Steelers veteran linebacker Harrison focused on stretch run
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin not grooming successor to RB Williams
- Steelers kicker Boswell puts best foot forward
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin ends practice with third-down work
- Rookie linebacker Chickillo adjusting to role with Steelers
- Steelers notebook: Players get back to work after bye
- Steelers not giving up on wresting AFC North from Bengals