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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mendenhall misses practice

Running back Rashard Mendenhall missed practice Thursday for the Steelers due to an illness, but is expected to be ready to play by Sunday when the Steelers host the Browns.

Of course the illness could be used as an excuse by head coach Mike Tomlin to split carries more evenly between Mendenhall and Willie Parker, who is expected to return after missing the past two games with a toe injury.

Mendenhall has run the ball well with Parke out - albeit against two weak defenses - but the Steelers have been mum about how they'll split the carries upon Parker's return.

Prior to Parker's injury, he was starting, with Mendenhall spelling him every third series.

That changed in a loss at Cincinnati, when Mendenhall was benched on offense. But Parker was injured during that game and Mendenhall has responded with the two best games of his young career.


Steelers Depot said...

Master Tomlin will likely give FWP every chance to prove he is the man on Sunday if active. I have a feeling I know how this is going to end though. Regardless, it does not hurt to have 2 good RB's on your roster, but I believe Mendenhall is a type of back that gets better as a game goes along. Hard for RBs to get a rhythm unless your name is Ronnie Brown. One should spell the other every 3rd or 4th series and I hope FWP is the one doing the spelling. Should be a fun Sunday, but we need all feelings to get hurt as soon as possible so we can get past it and move on. Everyone in the front office knows FWP will not return next year including Willie.

Michel Sauret said...

It seems like we're now treading political waters in keeping things fair in splitting carries between Parker and Fright Night. I want Parker to succeed. I hate to see his YPC going down, but ultimately you want to put the ball in the player that gives you the best chance at winning?

I thought that's what Tomlin was about. Is he being TOO much of a "Player's Coach?"

Anonymous said...

"It's Willie's ball."

Ben said...

I love Willie, he's a good guy and he has a great story, but he's been ineffective for a year and a half. Whatever he had, he lost it. You can blame it on the OL all you want, but Mendenhall has been a madman behind the same guys. Even when Willie was in his prime, he wasn't very effective at moving the chains. He would offset his 0-2 yard runs with 40+ yarders and bring his average up to 4. I don't begrudge him for that -- he's a good back. But he's not a feature back. Mendenhall has the makings of one, and I think it's time to pass the torch.

Fist-of-God said...

Two years ago FWP was leading the league in rushing before his injury.

ARe you telling me Mendenhall could have run through the inexistent holes the first three games? In case you don't remember,he had a chance in those games. Mendenhall couldn't even find the line of scrimage without a map until 2 weeks ago.

I'll never understand how such fickle fans consistently see the value in the Rooney's steady leadership but can't remember anything that happened before breakfast.

Ben said...

Fist, don't lump me in with any fickle fans you may be referring to. I've always valued Willie for his contributions, but I've always tempered my praise for him. Yes, he has (had?) the potential for big plays, and he's had a lot of yards in the past 4 years, but I've never seen him as a complete running back. He simply can't break tackles. 1200 yards a season is terrific - except when drives stall because you can't pick up the third and three. My feelings regarding Parker have been consistent since he became a starter here. Disagree with me if you want to, but don't call me fickle.

This is all moot, though. This is a "what have you done for me lately?" league. That Willie almost won the rushing title two years ago is completely meaningless. He's a far cry from what he once was. Mendenhall is the RB of the future and he's showing that he could be the RB of today. It's time to let him run.

Dale Lolley said...

If Mendenhall doesn't practice Friday, don't be surprised if he doesn't play very much. Tomlin won't play young guys without much practice time.

Anonymous said...

Cut Ratliff, sign Redman!

keevin said...

good thing we didn't cut Eason for Redman last week like everyone was crying about except me and Dale

Anonymous said...

you can put me down as a fickle fan then, cause I don't think there is any question Mendy should be starting and getting the carries over FWP.

Lets see, a 22 yo 1st round pik, high YPC, blocks well, pass blocks, and catches the ball.

Versus a 30 yo, injured 3 seasons in a row, turf toe, can't block, can't catch, and can't get you 3 YPC.

In the words of Berman, "Comeon man"

I think FWP should have to prove he can even serve as an effective backup before he is given any consideration as a starter.

And more importantly, its ok for us to be having this debate but for the coaching staff to be sending out this of message.

Sorry, this team is giving out all signs of being in chaos and total disarray.

and now Smith and Troy out? if this Browns game was in Cleveland, I think we'd be primed for an upset.


fickle fan (ie, one who wants to win games, not friends)

Farmer Fran

marc said...

farmer fran,
back away from the edge man.

reality is that mendy did well against 2 bad defenses. mendy also struggled in previous games the same way parker did.

i don't think anyone here disagrees with you regarding mendy's potential and being a more complete back. he just needs to prove it against good defenses.

imo, splitting the carries 50/50 is the best course of action right now.

also, i don't think how the coaching staff is handling this reflects chaos. on the contrary, arian's has stated that as mendy continues to play well he will continue to get more carries. tomlin stated as much in saying the division of labor will be determined by parker's health and how the guys practice. it's completely logical. it's a motivational ploy for both mendy and parker and i think it's the best way to approach the situation.

kelly said...

"Sorry, this team is giving out all signs of being in chaos and total disarray."

What?!! How are they in "total disarray"? Because you don't know what back they're going to start Sunday, or you don't approve of the back they MAY start? Give me a break. This team is about as far from "chaos" as a team can be.

And Troy will play Sunday.

Anonymous said...

Marc...i respectfually disagree about Parker's success in weeks 1-3 compared to Mendy's. Mendenhall had as many yards on 3 carries against Chicago as Parker did the entire game. Mendy only had 4 carries against the Titans, not nearly enough to get into the flow of the game, especially the first one of the season and then he didn't play against Cincy.

The truth is Mendenhall, when given the bulk of the carries, has outperformed Parker. And, I know this is pure speculation, but my guess is Mendy would have rushed for over 100 against the Bengals.

As most coaches would say, "Go with the hot hand." That would be Mendy.

Anonymous said...

I agree with what Fran said about the Mendenhall/Parker situation but I don't think this team is chaos...I think its the opposite, especially on offense. I think, the Smith injury aside, this team is starting to find its 2009 identity as a team.

marc said...

yes, mendy had one good run against chicago. he also had a hole to run through on that run. i also believe parker would have rushed for over 100 yards against cinci if he wasn't injured.

look, i like mendy a ton and think he will be the complete feature back we've been looking for. i also think his inconsistency, whether that be in games or preparation, warrants splitting carries with parker right now. as long as mendy continues to prove himself each week, then let him garner more playing time as well.

i trust tomlin on this and feel he handles players exceptionally well.

Anonymous said...


lol, trying to back off of the ledge, but just can't. need to see it happen on the field first.

sorry, I see chaos. we've had repeated 4th quarter debacles, the lions game the play calling was "in BA's words - off", the whole RB issue the entire year has been a bad fire drill - its 6 games into the season and we still don't know who are feature back is.
And I'm not saying Mendy is the answer either - what I'm saying is we have invested $4 million on one back and a #1 pik on another - and we don't seem to have a clue right now where we are heading.

and double sorry, Troy is not playing Sunday - at best 75% Troy will be starting. The prudent route would be another week of rest. are we rushing him back? chaos.

And on D, our #1 pick is not ready to go???? So how is a #2 pik in Cincinnatti ready and kicking arse?

And we let McFadden get away when we knew we were already short staffed in backs, we signed Ratliff - puke.

And now Smith going down and Eason is going to save the day? Maybe I'm overstating the loss of Smith -but to me the one thing that was holding the D together was our strength against the run and to me, he is the primary reason for that.

ugh. just need to see it on the field . Need to see us decisively close out the brownies and beat vikes. I really hope I have to eat crow but I think just too much is heading down or worse, sideways.

Farmer Fran

Anonymous said...

Fran - stop whining

Anonymous said...

I'll try to be more constructive than the guy above.

The steelers know where they are headed with the RB situation. Do you expect Tomlin to say "Mendy played well so Parker is on the outs and needs to play spectacularly to keep his job," I don't.

You have no idea how far "back" Troy is. Neither do I. I'm guessing only a few people do know.

Our #1 pick is switching positions and schemes and coming to a much better defense at a position that gets fewer stats and almost no glory. plus, Maualuga hasn't been amazing. he looks promising but do you remember him making any great plays against the steelers?

nobody has said Eason will save the day.


Anonymous said...

"at best 75% Troy will be starting. The prudent route would be another week of rest. are we rushing him back? chaos."
--The doctors have cleared him, the coaches have cleared him, and he has cleared himself so he is gonna play, its that simple. He will be a half step slow the rest of the season because the knee brace he will wear the rest of the season will restrict some movement but he would be a better option than Carter and company with only one leg.

"And on D, our #1 pick is not ready to go???? So how is a #2 pik in Cincinnatti ready and kicking arse?"
--You are obviously over estimating how hard and complex it is to play LB in Cinci's scheme and severly underestimating how hard and complex it is to play DE in Lebeau's schemes.

"And we let McFadden get away when we knew we were already short staffed in backs, we signed Ratliff - puke."
--That did suck but you only have room for so many guys under a salary cap and we had to extend some of our core players this offseason (Harrison, Miller, etc.).

"And now Smith going down and Eason is going to save the day? Maybe I'm overstating the loss of Smith -but to me the one thing that was holding the D together was our strength against the run and to me, he is the primary reason for that."
--This is a fairly reasonable thought but injuries happen and no playoff team makes it through the season without some of their depth being tested at some point.

All in all, I wouldn't say this team is chaos...come on.

Anonymous said...

well, I can't complain, I am whining a I've been big time supporter of D and was really looking forward to Troy easing back in and the Defensive becoming dominate again. Will keep my fingers crossed on Hood.

And maybe chaos is the wrong word, but I think we made (or by not making a decision) some bad moves over the off season. Our retun on investment in the RB area is/was horrible. And don't understand why when it was clear towards the end of the year that if we had a weakness in the D it was on pass coverage - we not only did nothing, we let an important piece get away. (I don't buy the lack of money argument)

Farmer Fran

Steelers Depot said...

Rashard was back fully on Friday and removed from the injury report. Look for him to start and FWP to be mixed in. Browns are ranked 32nd against the run. Would be nice to see both go for 100.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice for fantasy team too if Mendy got his fair share of the carries on Sunday, especially in goal line situations!

Ben said...

Farmer Fran, you seem fairly clueless if you think the off-season was a failure. There's only so much money to go around, and the front office was able to keep the following players from a Super Bowl roster:

DMVP James Harrison
Hines Ward
Heath Miller
Brett Keisel
Chris Kemoeatu
Max Starks

They lost/cut:

Larry Foote
Bryant McFadden

That's a damn good off-season, if you ask me. Most teams face an exodus after they win the SB -- guys are trying to cash in. On top of that, they had a stellar draft.

NO ONE expected that Hood would be ready to start this year. The Steelers KNEW when they drafted him that it would take a couple years for him to be ready. Tomlin and Mitchell are quoted as saying so. The fact of the matter is, he's switching from 4-3 DT to 3-4 DE and everyone involved knows that wont happen overnight.

As for our running back situation, I think it's pretty much "figured out". Mendenhall showed us why he was drafted in the first round, and he'll be sharing carries with Willie Parker and starting next year.

You seem to equate injuries with "chaos", and that's downright foolishness. Every team in the NFL has to deal with injuries -- it's a part of the game. There is no way to predict it, and you can't have excellent depth at every position. All in all, I would say the Steelers are one of the deepest teams in football.

So when you say the Steelers are in a state of chaos, I can't help but chuckle a little bit.