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Rashard Mendenhall: Pittsburgh Steelers Run Game Will Struggle in RB's Absence

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 06:  Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs into the endzone for a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens during the game on November 6, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Alex HallCorrespondent IIIAugust 30, 2012

The Pittsburgh Steelers will enter the 2012 season without starting running back Rashard Mendenhall, and will find rushing yards hard to come by until he returns.

Pittsburgh will instead feature an offense based around wide receivers Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and of course, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Back on August 23rd, Mendenhall told Ralph N. Paulk of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review "To be real, I don’t know when I’ll be ready to play."

With backup Isaac Redman starting in his place, the running game is not something the Steelers should rely on for the time being.

The three-year NFL player has just 726 yards in his career with three touchdowns. Redman spent his rookie season in 2009 on and off the Steelers practice squad and had just 53 attempts in 2010.

The story of a running back coming out of nowhere and stealing NFL headlines happens almost every year, but the Steel Curtain faithful should not expect Redman to join the likes of DeMarco Murray and Peyton Hillis.

Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Redman has a "nagging pain in his hip," which he acknowledged when speaking about his pain and discomfort:

I'm not really sure how the hip is going to hold up or if it's going to hurt at all, or if I'm going to be fine...It's pretty much a pain-tolerance thing. It might nag me throughout the year. I'm just going to have to fight through the pain.

If Redman were to go down due to this hip injury or any other injury for that matter, the Steelers would be forced to start fellow three-year veteran Jonathan Dwyer, who has a grand total of 25 carries in his NFL career.

Pittsburgh's main focus on offense will not be the running game even when Mendenhall returns, but it will be difficult for the team to establish the run with inexperienced and dinged up Redman as their feature back.

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