The Chris Rainey Dynamic Part 1: Collegiate Stats

By Christopher DiMarino

The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted a lightning bolt when they selected Chris Rainey in the 5th of the 2012 NFL draft. Harnessing that lightning will be an arduous task, but one that will also breed excitement throughout Steeler Nation. How better to forecast his potential as a Steeler then by looking into his past successes. He made his name as a Gator at Florida, and was a centerpiece for their team from 2008 to 2011 and had a couple years of grooming under Urban Meyer, who has produced a multitude of NFL stars. Combine that with the yards he accumulated over his career and his wide range of skills and you might wonder how he slipped to the 5th round. I think the shell shock of his 5\’8 size and failure to exceed excessively at any one position might have diminished his value.

Rainey has no limit to his potential. In fact, the speed and agility he exhibited in college might drive him to huge success in the NFL. Although he is a running back, he will translate to a special teamer/ change of pace back in the pros. So while he likely can\’t become an Adrian Peterson, he can become a Darren Sproles. That may seem like an insult but I think everyone can agree that having a Sproles on the roster would be awesome. He single handedly replaced 2nd overall pick Reggie Bush (who was a bit of a bust), and helped Drew Brees set the record for passing yards in a season.

Now to the stats. I\’ll keep this relatively brief because Rainey was a pretty well known commodity in college. At the beginning of his career he was more singularly focused as a running back. In 2008 and 2009, he was just short of 100 carries in each of those years with 4 and 5 touchdowns respectively. In both years he had a monstrous YPC of over 6.5 and a long rush of over 75 yards. He slowly began mixing it up in 2009 by going up from 3 receptions and 1 return in 2008 to 10 receptions and 9 returns.

2010 was a bit of an transition year for him as he dropped significantly in carries (51), longest rush (51) and rushing touchdowns (2). He did increase his ulterior production as a receiver (25 receptions) and returns (17). 2011 was his masterpiece year as he had highs in rushing attempts and yards (171, 861) receiving yards (381) and returns (21). Teammates Jeff Demps and Trey Burton factored into the poor rushing performance of Rainey in 2010 and it likely was because coaches played the hot back. However, a coaching change and a new found dedication to perform likely factored into Rainey\’s great 2011 season.

A big negative on stats sheets of Rainey is that a majority of his yards were in blowout games, and came when his team was a ahead by a good margin. Not too surprisingly a lot of his stats came on early downs as well. While he was involved in the passing game, it was typically on early downs. This stat does more damage than you might think. While he will be considered a change of pace type back that can get reps on early downs, his value in the passing game will drive his participation on 3rd downs. There is already a large knock against his size and how it will affect his ability to block in the backfield on passing downs. The last thing that a good at everything, master of none needs is another knock that will make him less effective at tricking the defense.

If it was a perfect world, Rainey would want to improve his blocking and be a back that can earn his stay in the mix. But reality might dictate that the defense knows exactly what he will do when he\’s on the field. The key is that knowing what he might do and stopping him are two different tasks entirely. With the Steelers recent addition of weapons to the offense and how the OLine\’s been shored up in the draft, he might be the final touch to Todd Haley\’s masterpiece offense.

20070400  01       1010.00 00   10       2.50
20081400  84     65207.76 04   75     46.57
20091403  89     57506.46 05   76     41.07
20100806  51     36607.18 02   51     45.75
20111210171     86105.04 02   47     71.75
TOTAL5219396   246406.22 13   76     47.38
2008  03       3712.33 00   16
2009  10     16116.10 01   33
2010  25     21608.64 03   40
2011  31     38112.29 02   83
TOTAL  69     79511.52 06   83
2007 01       2222.00 00   22  01       3939.00 00   39
2008  01       0606.00 00   06
2009 04       4010.00 01   23  05     14428.80 00   51
2010 09       6707.44 00   15  07     16223.14 00   45
2011 12     10608.83 01   22  04     10325.75 00   37
TOTAL 26     23509.04 02   23  18     45425.22 00   51

  • Jprankster2005

    No joking aside I think Redman and Rainey could be the future RB’s for the next 5 to 6 yrs. or more……. They have 4 pretty good backs outside of Mendenhall……. Dwyer and Batch are good and easily can be starters with some time and experince….. I can’t wait to see the battles in Preseason….. I think with a couple of this guys getting a chance since of Mendy injury will open up eyes and also in my opinion will result in his release at the end of the yr…. The 2 that I think can make a big leap are Batch and Rainey…. I don’t think they will carry four backs so I would say Redman just because he has experince… Rainey will make it for ST and Batch and Dwyer will fight out for a spot……. I think all four of these guys can make the team and contribute in a big way….. Dwyer when given the chance had a big game…. Batch we haven’t seen a whole lot because of injury, and Redman has done a good job with his carries…. I don’t think Clay will come close to making the team but it’s possible we see Redman,Dwyer,Batch and Rainey making the team….. And whoever win’s the job will probably win over Mendenhall’s job in the future…… Just my opinion….. I think all 4 of those guys can be just as good if not better….. I know there all not the same kind of backs Redman and Dwyer are bigger and Rainey is a speedy guy……. But I look for rainey to contribute in all ways next yr. and win over alot of people…….

  • Jprankster2005

    And the last part said with the recent addition of Weapons besides the OL what weapons would those be?????? Didn’t know we signed any weapons,

  • SteelersDepot

    Pretty sure he is meaning Rainey, as it is pretty obvious, just not worded correctly.

  • I am a Rainey fan. He has amazing footwork and amazing ability to make people miss to go with elite speed. Pitch runs to the outside, reverses, slot pass routes, screens, hit him on a fly route from the backfield – just a huge amount of possibilities he could bring to the offense. Sure he is small and as such will never be able to block but if used right he will make our offense even more dangerous.

  • Jprankster2005

    It’s not a big deal, I missed the Leftwich signing….. I thought maybe we signed someone else….. But he said with with the weapons we recently recieved plus the OL Rainey might be the masterpiece……. So I was wondering who the weapons were….. No doubt Rainey can do alot of things, He will contribute alot

  • Asmitty56

    On 3rd down couldn’t they just have both Rainey and Redman in the backfield so they will always have Redman’s blocking and Rainey’s receiving ability? Also still have 2 WRs and another spot for a 3rd WR or a TE, and could motion Rainey in the slot or throw it to him out of the backfield.