Steelers' Mendenhall to start at RB when healthy
Rashard Mendenhall is likely still a week away from being healthy enough to return to game action, but when he does, the former first-round pick will assume his starting role.
Steelers running back coach Kirby Wilson told the Trib on Wednesday that Mendenhall “has the whole package, so that's your guy,” despite recent success by Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer.
“Rashard has always been our lead dog and our top runner,” Wilson said.
Mendenhall has been inactive for six of eight games — three while recovering from offseason knee surgery and three while nursing an Achilles injury — and it's unclear whether he will play Monday when the Steelers host Kansas City.
Mendenhall had 101 total yards in his first game back against Philadelphia on Oct. 7 before getting injured the next week against Tennessee.
Despite three consecutive 100-yard efforts (two by Dwyer and one by Redman), Wilson likes Mendenhall's intangibles.
“Rashard is the complete package — power, speed, explosiveness,” Wilson said. “He is the guy who can take a 10-yard run and make people miss and get 20 more. We think Jonathan has things that he is great at. Isaac has some things that he is great at. But Rashard is the complete package. Rashard has proved that he can do it over the long haul.”
However, Wilson reiterated what Mike Tomlin said earlier in the week: Whoever is having success during the game is who will get the ball the most.
“Whoever is producing, give it to them again,” Wilson said. “They are aware of whoever is producing is going to get the most opportunities.”
But Mendenhall will get the initial opportunity.
Wilson, who is responsible for making the running back depth chart, is indifferent about going with a running back-by-committee approach when all three are healthy.
“On any given Sunday, you can have the next guy in there,” Wilson said.
Mendenhall has eight 100-yard games and 29 TDs in his five years in the league. His 832 rushes are 512 more than Dwyer and Redman combined. He will be an unrestricted free agent at end's year.
Notes: CB Ike Taylor is the AFC defensive player of the week for the second time in his career. Taylor made the first INT by a Steelers cornerback Sunday. He also made five tackles and broke up a pass. ... The Steelers plan to promote receiver David Gilreath to their 53-man roster because Antonio Brown (high-ankle sprain) is unlikely to play Monday. ... Ex-Penn State and Rochester High receiver Derek Moye was added to the practice squad, replacing tight end Jamie McCoy.
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- It’s only exhibition, but these Steelers could solidify roster spots vs. Eagles
- Starkey: Stupid Steelers
- Steelers are hoping to mirror Eagles’ full-bore, no-huddle offense
- Steelers running backs Bell, Blount will face drug charges
- Commitment by Steelers’ Gilbert pays off
- Steelers notebook: Polamalu not concerned with being old man among safeties
- Rossi: Blount brings back Steelers’ swagger
- Steelers defensive end Thomas is finding success on the field
- Steelers believe Wheaton ready to step in as No. 2 receiver
- Run game not primary focal point for Steelers
- Steelers re-sign Keisel to bolster depth on defensive line