Rashard Mendenhall: Veteran RB Not a Smart Start vs. Bengals

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IOctober 16, 2012

October 7, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall (34) on the sidelines against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 16-14. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Rashard Mendenhall not only had a dismal fantasy day against the Tennessee Titans in Week 6, but he's also listed as "day to day" after he aggravated his Achilles' in the 26-23 loss, according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Bouchette tweeted on Tuesday:

Pouncey, Mendenhall, Redman day to day for #Steelers

— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) October 16, 2012

Playing in just his second game coming off a torn ACL, Mendenhall rushed six times for six yards before being pulled from the game by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

He said he's not that concerned about the injury, saying the Achilles' is "just irritated" and "a little tight," according to Mike Bires of the Beaver County Times

Still, there's reason to suggest that the Steelers will limit Mendenhall in Week 7 against the Cincinnati Bengals, especially after Isaac Redman's standout performance catching the ball against the Titans (four catches, 105 yards).

There's also the fact that the Steelers offensive line hasn't exactly opened things up for the running game this season. Pittsburgh is averaging 3.0 yards per carry (worst in the NFL) while notching just two rushing touchdowns this season. Their longest run has been 17 yards, also worst in the league. Even with Redman exploding as a receiver last week, he still rushed for just 14 yards on five carries.

Also, there really is no reason to run the ball against the Bengals. They are allowing 7.9 yards per pass attempt this season (25th in the NFL) and have recorded just two interceptions in six games. 

Ben Roethlisberger has completed just under 65 percent of his throws for 7.5 yards per attempt with 10 touchdowns to two interceptions. He just posted 363 yards against the Titans while averaging 9.1 yards per attempt.

The Steelers have been without the benefit of a strong running game this season, and Mendenhall's injury certainly doesn't change that. They will stick to the air against the Bengals and be careful with their veteran running back.


Follow RyanRudnansky on Twitter