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Steelers Must Run Better On Early Downs Moving Forward


One thing that is obviously lacking on offense for the Pittsburgh Steelers through the first two games of the 2012 season is the ability to run the ball well on first and second downs.

On first down the running game has produced just 91 yards of offense on 29 carries for a dismal 3.14 yards per attempt. Second down has been even worse as it has produced only 21 yards of offense on 18 rushing attempts with only Jonathan Dwyer having a positive yards per carry number after the first two games of the season.

When you combine both downs together, the Steelers running game has all of 112 yards on 47 carries for a dismal 2.38 yards per carry.

While many will try to point to new offensive coordinator Todd Haley as being predictable on those downs, he actually has been pretty balanced as there have been 23 first down passing plays and 27 second down passing plays through the first two games.

The Steelers offensive line is still trying to gel and consistent running lanes have not been there thus far for the running backs, especially between the tackles. Some of the bigger runs that Dwyer and starter Isaac Redman have had thus far on those downs have been because of their effort to bounce a few of them outside that were initially drawn up to go inside.

Willie Colon is still getting used to life at left guard and the execution of the line as a whole must improve going forward. The Steelers have one of, if not the best, third down quarterbacks currently playing the game right now in Ben Roethlisberger, but they can\'t keep forcing him to play behind the chains moving forward.

Running more successfully on early downs has to be a focus heading into the Week 3 game against the Oakland Raiders and it will open up the passing game even more as soon as it is rectified. Hopefully that will be soon.

1ST DOWN RUSH YDS YPR FD TD
Isaac Redman 14 33 2.36 2 1
Chris Rainey 2 11 5.50 0 0
Jonathan Dwyer 12 43 3.58 0 0
Antonio Brown 1 4 4.00 0 0
TOTAL 29 91 3.14 2 1
2ND DOWN RUSH YDS YPR FD TD
Isaac Redman 7 -4 -0.57 0 0
Chris Rainey 1 -2 -2.00 0 0
Jonathan Dwyer 9 28 3.11 2 0
Baron Batch 1 -1 -1.00 0 0
TOTAL 18 21 1.17 2 0
TOTAL 1ST & 2ND 47 112 2.38 4 1

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • JayBirdDC

    Based on the running game’s performance up to this point,
    I wonder what the Steelers will do in terms of activating Mendenhall. Personally
    I think he should be activated for Oakland rather than Philly. Give him 5 carries in Oakland, a team we can
    hopefully beat, have the bye week, and then based on how he performs, they can give
    him 10-15 carries in Philly. I think it he would be a better transition for
    him.

  • Ahmad

    The only reason why Redman and Dwyer aren’t doing that well is that they don’t have the speed to bounce it outside when it gets trafficky on the inside like Mendy did. I can think of several runs whereas had they had the speed to get outside, they would have gotten decent yardage.

  • SteelSpine

    Run blocking stunk all game, & thats the 2nd game in a row it stunk. Almost every run play was a mismatch for our blocking, our HBs have nothing but a wall to hit. It appeared Redman & Dwyer learned to expect they’ll hit a wall & that’s why they were were so quick to bounce back & spin to around end to make a play himself. Usually it’s been a mismatch of not-enough blockers, on so many plays that it’s starting to now make me wonder if Haley knows how to plan run blocking.

    When it’s not a mismatch of number of blockers, sometimes our OLinemen who are supposed to have ability to pull, reached insteada being able to get into position fast enough to square up. We might be getting all we can out of the blockers we have, but assuming all our OLinemen are quick enough to pull, is not being able to judge our OLinemen’s abilities. I think that’s our OLine coach Sean Kugler’s job to judge who can do what, & I question Kugler’s ability to judge because he is who brot Jonathan Scott here.

    The staff’s probly thinking Mendenhall’s twinkerbell spin will come in handy when Mendy comes back & hits that wall across the front line. But if that’s how we’re going to get all of our run yards, is by hitting the wall & spinning to outside, we better sign Barry Sanders outtof retirement.

    Her’s hoping our run blocking begins to gel.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    Throw the ball until the running lanes open up then pound the hell out of it. You don’t get extra credit for establishing the run first. We’re good, and versatile enough to take what they give us early in the game.

  • SteelSpine

    Sorry to reply to my own post but today I read an interview of Redman whom was asked about it, he replied he “got tired of getting hit in the backfield” & so he knew “it was important to not get frustrated.”

  • r4kolb

    The O line Still suks. That’s why they can’t run the ball. It’s not the running backs. If there aren’t any holes they can’t run. Look at Redmen’s TD run from the 3 yard line…he hit a wall because the O line can’t control the line of scrimmage. Luckily he’s stong enough to break a tackle and make a move to the outside for the score. The sad reality is this other then Ben and the receivers the team as a whole is average at best. Not a lot of pressure on the QB’s thus far, teams seem to run for 5 yards a shot. Pass coverage is so so depending on who’s the QB. I’m thinking 9-7 this year at best. Thought’s???

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