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Steelers take big-picture view when using Mendenhall

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By Scott Brown
Sunday, Oct. 2, 2011

Rashard Mendenhall is averaging 16.3 carries per game -- about four fewer than last season -- and it is no certainty that his workload is going to increase today.

The Steelers are taking a big-picture view in regards to how they use Mendenhall, and that hasn't changed even though they know they need to get their feature back going.

"We've tried to limit his carries so that he will be healthy down the line," offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said. "If he had 200 carries and 450 yards already, everybody would say, 'Well, you're running him too much.' "

Arians said he'd like to get backup Isaac Redman more carries, but those aren't likely to come at the expense of Mendenhall in goal-line situations.

Arians said Mendenhall, who rushed for 13 touchdowns last season, is still the Steelers' goal-line back.

"That's Rashard's job," Arians said. "He's in great shape and ready to carry the load."

Scott, Meredith to dress

The Steelers will try to win today with a patchwork offensive line and not much in the way of proven depth behind the starters.

Chris Scott will suit up for just his second NFL game. Fellow offensive tackle Jamon Meredith will dress in his first game since signing with the Steelers last month, after the loss of Willie Colon to a season-ending triceps injury.

With starting left tackle Jonathan Scott (ankle) and right guard Doug Legursky (shoulder) out today, the Steelers will dress the seven offensive linemen on their 53-man roster who are healthy.

Trai Essex will start for Scott, while Ramon Foster will play in place of Legursky.

Extra points

Tight end Heath Miller and Texans quarterback Matt Schaub were teammates from 2001-03 at the University of Virginia. The two connected on 15 pass plays that went for touchdowns. ... Schaub's career completion percentage (64.8) is fifth best in NFL history. ... Ramon Foster, who will start at right guard today for the Steelers, and Texans running back Arian Foster were teammates at the University of Tennessee from 2004-08 and are distant cousins. ... Hines Ward needs 16 receiving yards to pass Pro Football Hall of Famer Don Maynard and claim 20th place on the NFL's list for career receiving yards.

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