David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
Many Steelers fans have speculated that one of the biggest reasons Todd Haley was brought in was to improve the running game, which had for years been a relative weak spot under Bruce Arians.
The running game simply wasn’t up to snuff against the Broncos.
The Steelers were held to 79 yards on the ground on just 2.9 yards per carry. To his credit, backup running back Jonathan Dwyer did play pretty well, rushing for 43 yards on nine carries.
Starter Isaac Redman, on the other hand, did not get the job done. Redman rushed for 20 yards on 11 carries and looked indecisive in the hole.
What made Redman appealing last season was that, as opposed to Mendenhall, he was a north and south runner who didn’t dance too much. Redman just didn’t look like the same player against the Broncos. It should be noted that he did miss a significant part of the preseason with hip and ankle injuries, which could partially explain his ineffectiveness.
For all the criticism Rashard Mendenhall has received over the years over his running style, there’s no doubt that he’s better than what the Steelers have right now. He’s still one of the most talented running backs in the league.
Luckily for the Steelers, Mendenhall’s recovering from his torn ACL much faster than expected and could be back for the Jets game. He has looked good in practice and was a full participant in Wednesday's practice.
While I wouldn’t bank on Mendenhall playing Sunday, he should be back sooner rather than later.