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Isaac Redman: C
Redman came into the season as the team’s starter for at least the time regular feature back Rashard Mendenhall was on the shelf. He had a good chance to spin that into a regular role, either in Pittsburgh or somewhere else, with a big performance. However, he hasn’t been very good.
Redman has struggled with injuries and hasn’t been able to generate much behind the team’s patchwork offensive line. While that’s not entirely on him, he does need to start making some gains or the team will suffer.
Jonathan Dwyer: C+
Dwyer had an impressive preseason and many thought he could eclipse Redman as the team’s starter if he continued that in the regular season. He has been better than Redman, but only by a slight measure. He has been able to get through tighter openings, but, again, the yardage isn’t there.
This is a make-or-break year for Dwyer, who needs to prove both his health and his effectiveness. If he can do that, he might have a future in Pittsburgh. If not, he’ll be looking to catch on elsewhere.
Chris Rainey: C
For all of the fanfare surrounding Rainey during the preseason, he has been a bit of a disappointment so far in the regular season. He hasn’t broken a big gain and hasn’t been able to turn the corner in the running game. He also hasn’t been a factor on returns, as many thought he would be. There’s still time and Rainey is only a rookie after all, but I thought we’d be getting more from him.
Baron Batch: C
The trend with this running game is that no one has been very good. I’m not giving Batch a C because he’s been bad. I’m giving him a C because he’s been okay when on the field. The big issue is we haven’t really seen much of him yet. I’m hoping that will change after the bye. I expect Batch to get a regular turn on third downs once things get settled.
Rashard Mendenhall: I
I can’t give Mendenhall a grade yet. He seems to be close to returning from his knee injury, but he hasn’t made a single appearance in uniform yet. I’ll give him a A for simply getting back so quickly and working very hard to get back on the field.
Will Johnson (FB): B+
I questioned whether a true fullback could really have success in an NFL dominated by the pass, but Johnson has been an excellent addition to this team. He has done a decent job as a lead blocker and has helped out the offensive line as much as possible there. He’s also been phenomenal as a receiver and has become one of the team’s secret weapons.