Rashard Mendenhall Looking Good To Start Against The Ravens

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall has missed the last four games with an Achilles injury that he suffered against the Tennessee Titans back in Week, but the reports are looking good that he will be back in the lineup this week as the starter against the Baltimore Ravens Sunday night.

Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports via Twitter on Thursday that fellow running back Isaac Redman indicated that it is looking like Mendenhall will indeed start Sunday night at Heinz Field.

The Steelers will be facing a Ravens defense that has allowed an average of 132 yards rushing a game through their first 9 games of the season.

In order for the Steelers to have a chance in this game minus the injured Ben Roethlisberger, they are going to have to be able to run the football effectively in order to take pressure off of backup Byron Leftwich.

The return of Mendenhall will also provide Leftwich a better check down out of the backfield in addition. While Redman and Jonathan Dwyer have filled in nicely at times while Mendenhall has been sidelined, neither have the cutting and breakaway ability in the open field that a healthy Mendenhall does.

Mendenhall will most likely have his snaps closely monitored Sunday night and it would not be a surprise if he winds up getting a series off several times throughout the game.

With Mendenhall now expected to be back, we will get to see if the Steelers choose to dress all five of their running backs for the first time this season. Chris Rainey and Baron Batch are prime special team players, so we might be seeing Redman and Dwyer fighting for one bone this week.

  • SteelSpine

    A plus is: Mendy should remember his rookie season ruined by Ray Lewis broke him in half (sent Mendy to IR for the year); Mendy should have extra motivation to play Ravens, even tho that was several years ago. I wonder if any reporter ever asked Mendy if that gives Mendy any extra motivation to play Ravens? Not sayin any Steeler needs any extra motivation to play against their rival Ravens, but will need all the help we can get in this game.

    Everybody including Ravens gonna expect Steelers try to run most of the time this game. So I wont be surprised if Ravens have 7 or 8 in the box or crowding line focused on stopping Steelers’ run game. That dares (begs) Leftwich to throw, but that’s why I wouldnt mind if CharlieB were playing instead (insteda Lefty) even tho Charlie’s throws would be rainbows.

  • RMSteeler

    Would think and hope Rashard just stays quiet. It was a tweet from him to a friend on the Ravens (can’t remember who), that led to a “bounty” being put on Medenhall that game, which was his first against the Ravens. Would also expect to the Ravens to show blitz, then drop into coverage, especially in the middle, hoping for a deflection interception since Byron has only shown one speed on his throws whether it’s 5 yards or 60 yards…Mach 1. Without much time to develop chemistry for his throws, receivers will be hard pressed to get their heads around in time on hot reads. O line will really have to step up especially in pass protection. Don’t remember Mendy being better than average at blitz pickups. In the run game, I hope the TE’s and WR’s seal the edges as Rashard doesn’t like to run between tackles. Ravens are too fast to “dance” in the middle of the line.

  • SteelSpine

    Good stuff, Thanks.