Rashard Mendenhall: Steelers Boosted by Mendenhall in Backup Role

Kyle SkovCorrespondent IIOctober 9, 2011

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 02: Running back Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers rushes for a touchdown in the third quarter against he Houston Texans on October 2, 2011 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.Texans won 17 to 10. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

Rashard Mendenhall is nursing a hamstring injury. All reports point to him playing but as a backup rather than his normal role as the starter.

ESPN AFC North beat writer Jamison Hensley reported that Mendenhall will definitely be available but coach Mike Tomlin is only willing to use him in a limited role.

This means that Isaac Redman is going to get his first start ever for the Steelers. He is averaging 4.9 yards on 22 carries this season.

The third down back Mewelde Moore is also out with an ankle injury.

As it stands the Steelers will have Isaac Redman, rookie Jonathan Dwyer and Rashard Mendenhall (in a limited capacity).

The Steelers will need a big game out of Redman. They cannot rely on Dwyer who has only dressed in two games his whole career.

The Steelers will be in a position they are not used to be being in this weekend. Ben Roethlisberger and Mendenhall are two of the most important players that the Steelers have and them not being at 100 percent is going to be a big hit.

The availability of Mendenhall is a huge boost for such an ailing offense. The biggest worry that the Steelers have is the poor offense line.

The Steelers must find ways to make the protection for Mendenhall good. If he does not get holes to explode through he will not be able to make strong cuts on his hamstring, which is hurting.

No matter what, having Mendenhall available even if he has under 10 carries puts the Steelers in a better place then they were when they thought they were not going to have him at all.