With Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall set to return this week, running backs coach Kirby Wilson talked Wednesday about how much work he would get in the game Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Wilson told Mike Prisuta of DVE Radio that Mendenhall won\’t get 55 snaps in the game on Sunday, but added that they would like him to get the running back “a significant amount of work”. Prisuta also reported yesterday on Steelers.com that Wilson was not yet willing to say what the rotation of the backs would be and who might start.
The return of Mendenhall to the lineup likely means that Jonathan Dwyer will be inactive this week. That would leave Mendenhall, Isaac Redman, Baron Batch and rookie Chris Rainey left to divide snaps an carries between.
Offensive coordinator Todd Haley said prior to the bye week that the team would be smart with Mendenhall upon his return. “When the green light is given, you still have to be smart with a guy has been out a good part of a year and seeing his first live action,” said Haley prior to the bye week.
Significant work for Mendenhall against the Eagles could be in the neighborhood of 30 offensive snaps with the former first round draft pick carrying the football 15 or so times. It would not be surprising to see him rotate series with Redman as well with both Batch and Rainey getting a few snaps mixed in on third downs.
Regardless of the total amount of work that Mendenhall winds up getting or not getting Sunday, the Steelers running game must improve its dismal 2.64 yards per carry average against an Eagles defense that is allowing just 3.81 yards per carry if they are to win this game.