The Big Breakdown- RUNNING BACK

In honor of the start of Camp Tomlin 2010, I will be doing a position by position breakdown of the 2010-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers.

I will address three factors: An introduction, the depth chart, and then any battles for spots going on within that position.

Today is part 2, where we will be turning to:

Running Back

This past offseason, amongst all the mayhem, an overlooked story was the departure of veteran back Willie Parker.

Parker, who saw his role almost disappear last season with the emergence of Rashard Mendenhall. Now, the running game is in the hands of Mendenhall.

The Steelers can’t afford to have Mendenhall injured. The backup situation isn’t necessarily awful, but it isn’t great either.

Let’s dive in:

Depth Chart

1. Rashard Mendenhall

Mendenhall made nice strides last year. His second season in the NFL was more like his rookie season, considering he missed nearly all of the 2008 season due to a broken shoulder. Mendenhall was a bit inconsistent though, putting up 150 yards in one game and then 30 in the next. He especially needs to run better against teams in the division. He is the clear-cut number one though, that’s a lock.

2. Mewelde Moore

Moore has been a complementary backup and has, at times, been a suitable starter for of games. He can step in and is a decent receiving back as well. However, let’s just hope that Bruce Arians doesn’t decide to pitch the ball to him on a 3rd and 5 in overtime this season… again.

3. Jonathan Dwyer

He’s a rookie. He was a late pick in the draft. He’s physical and comes from a Georgia Tech system that features the Wishbone offense. Many scouts had Dwyer as a top 5 back, but he didn’t have a great combine and tested positive for amphetamines. However, he took the drugs in order to combat his A.D.D. and is still going to have a big role in the Steelers offense this season.

4. Isaac Redman

5. Frank “The Tank” Summers

Redman was solid in the preseason, but was moved to the practice squad for the regular season. He has a much better shot at making the team this time around and, if the Steelers use Summers at FB, he may be able to make the permanent roster as the fourth running back. Summers had a lot of hype coming in and didn’t live up to it last season. He was tested at FB but was just too small. He’ll get another shot this season, but may have to fight for the last back spot with Redman.

The Battle

Not much of one here. The battle for the fourth RB spot seems to be up in the air. Mendenhall and Moore are the 1-2. Moore could get time on 3rd downs when a reception is needed. Dwyer could get a look in short yardage when Mendenhall needs a rest a la Gary Russell two years ago.

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