It\'s no secret that the Pittsburgh Steelers offense had a tough time adjusting to then-new offensive coordinator Todd Haley last year and this past week running back Isaac Redman admitted as much in an interview on 93.7 The Fan. Redman did, however, say that things are off to a much better start this year.
"Yeah, you can tell it\'s a better relationship all the way across the board," said Redman, who signed a one-year, $1.323 million restricted tender during the offseason. "We\'ve got to know him for a year; he\'s got to know us, and you can tell it was kind of awkward, uncomfortable feeling last year and now he\'s part of the family, and everybody\'s embraced the whole scheme and embraced him as well."
The Steelers running game finished 26th in the league last year in rushing yards per game and 28th overall in rushing yards per play and Redman was asked what led to that.
"Not to have any excuses, but it was the injuries," said Redman. "We have great talent on the offensive line, and we have great talent in the running back room. There\'s no reason why we shouldn\'t have a great running game, but the offensive line was banged up all year. The backfield was banged up all year, and it was to the point when we were coming into the week and not knowing who was going to be playing where.
"Our offensive line was juggling. They didn\'t really have time to really gel because each week it was a new guy starting at a new position. Each week it was a different running back starting. So when you have those problems its kind of hard to run the ball well."
With Haley now entering his second season things have gone much smoother for the offense this summer, according to Redman.
"I feel like we’re light-years ahead of where we were last year, which is a good thing," Redman said. "We’re clicking. We’ve got the offense down pat. Right now its just a refreshment of last year. We’ve changed a few things to better our offense, and I feel like we’re looking great."
Even though both Redman and fellow running back Jonathan Dwyer were re-signed during the offseason, the Steelers still bolstered their running back unit by drafting Michigan State running back Le\'Veon Bell in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft in hopes that he would eventually become the starter. Redman, however, said he isn\'t ready to concede the starting job to the rookie just yet as he knows 2013 is a make-or-break year for him.
"Bell\'s a great player, and he\'s going to help our team out a lot, but I\'m here to compete, and I definitely have a chip on my shoulder to prove myself," said Redman.
With Baron Batch and LaRod Stephens-Howling also looking forward to competing for a spot on the 53 man roster this summer, Redman talked about the upcoming training camp battle at the position.
"It’s going to be a heated competition when we get to training camp," Redman said. "If you’re not built for it, then you’re gonna lag in the back. I\'ve been the guy that\'s always been built for competition. I can\'t really speak for anybody else, but I’m here to compete. When things start firing in training camp, we’ll see who’s built for competition and who’s not."